Minimum wage on campus doesn’t cut it

After UW-Madison raised campus wages, Eau Claire should follow suit

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Photo by Hannah Pitzl

unior nursing student, Jess Steen, works to support herself at Crest Wellness Center.

An Associated Press article said UW-Madison is raising the minimum wage for student workers from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour starting Sept. 1 and raising the minimum wage “will hopefully provide an extra financial cushion for students,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in the article.

She is exactly right, and UW-Eau Claire should follow suit and raise the minimum wage for on-campus jobs to $9 an hour.

Housing bills, tuition, food and other living costs are constantly weighing down on the backs of students at Eau Claire. Currently, students are working for $7.25 an hour, which simply isn’t enough to support themselves. Raising the minimum wage will give college students much more financial stability.

“When you’re living off campus especially, you’re paying almost $400 a month,” Blake Enerson, an on-campus student employee said, “and minimum wage doesn’t cut it when you’re losing money every single month and also have to pay for college.”

With the recent 25-hour work week cap put in place for students working on campus, raising minimum wage to $9 could help those the hour cuts negatively affect. The pay increase would help students compensate for lost hours.

Furthermore, some students fall behind in classes because they need to work to put themselves through school. If the hourly wage increased, it would help relieve those students of financial stress by allowing them to cut back on hours and focus on the education they are working so hard to pay for.

Unfortunately, some like psychology student Charissa Cable are beginning to feel the pay doesn’t justify the work.

“My job doesn’t pay me enough, and I do so much more than what I get paid for,” Cable said.

Cable said she is thankful for her job at the Student Service Center but it is difficult to work for so little when she is paying her college tuition all by herself.

Those against minimum wage increase could argue that paying employees more would cause Eau Claire to lose money, which would result in a decrease in available jobs.

However, some Blugolds are having a hard time making money and sustaining themselves with on-campus jobs and are forced to look off campus for ones with higher pay. This leaves many vacant job openings that need to be filled.

“Students are here for a reason, and they are looking for help,” Cable said.

Eau Claire is a place students come to in order to further their education and build their future. Unfortunately, it is difficult to build a future when students are struggling to pay off loans for years after graduation. Increasing the minimum hourly wage to $9 would give students the job security they want and need.