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Students’ work study pay should match federal wage

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Baker University students work hard for the money.

Sure, work study jobs are often easy to come by, and plenty of times they are less challenging than any job you might find on the street or in the real world.

But at the same time, students are managing proofing papers for professors and helping fellow students in the library or the Wildcat Café, while at the same time fulfilling coursework for 12 or more credit hours – a juggling act many people out in the “real world” don’t have to deal with, as they get to leave their work at the office.

With the federal minimum wage increase, Baker students’ work study pay should increase as well, without cutting the amount of work-study positions.

If circumstances were different and the university could not obtain the financial resources needed to fund the budget through the increase in tuition or other arenas, not adjusting the work study wage would be understandable.

But as it stands, Baker University appears to have no great struggle coming up with ways to make money – it has been doing so for longer than any other university in the state.

Beyond the practical request for an increase in wages matching that of the federal government, the principle behind the request stands as sound reasoning as well.

When our federal government decided to increase the federal minimum wage, it was doing more than trying to keep a few more dollars in taxpayers’ pockets; it was making a statement clearly declaring the right of citizens to lay claim to the American dream – the ability to work for their own personal pursuit of happiness and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

College students’ work-study pay shouldn’t be a reflection of the university’s right to set benchmarks for the wages, but rather, a reflection of the university’s appreciation for students who are not only willing to pay for an education here, but also to contribute to its everyday success.

When the time comes to make the decision on raising work-study wages alongside the federal increase, the university should do the right thing and pay students more.

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