September 8, 2023 | NEWS | By Marynn Krull
When student employees open their paychecks on Friday, Sept. 15, they’ll see a 66-cent wage increase as a result of new budget allocations. Beginning Aug. 22, students in Step I positions will make $14.31 per hour, and students in Step II positions will make $14.71 per hour.
This wage increase is the result of a tuition increase for the 2023-24 school year, though talks about an increase began last fall, says Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lori Seager. After consulting the vice president for enrollment, financial aid director, and two student committee members about needs around campus, the Campus Budget Committee added increased student wages to its recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
Student wages increased by $1.10 in January when Colorado’s minimum wage went up to $13.65. This increase exacerbated the need for increased student wage allocations, Seager says, to ensure that supervisors don’t need to cut students’ hours to stay within budget.
In an announcement email to students last year, President L. Song Richardson described the tuition increase as being part of “an action plan to provide transformational student experiences for students from all backgrounds.”
As a result of the subsequent budget increase, the student wage increase allows students to meet their work study award in fewer hours.
Under the new hourly wage, on average, Colorado College students can fulfill their entire work study award by working five-to-six hours a week, said Interim Co-Director of Financial Aid Erica Shafer. This estimate is based on the average work study award, which is about $2,100, and excludes time periods such as block breaks, when students may not work. Last year, students needed to work six-to-seven hours a week to meet the same award average.
“I was a work study student, so I know that feeling,” Shafer said.
Nathan Shields ’26, a student employee at the Adam F. Press Fitness Center, said that he works between six and seven hours a week, but that the flexibility of being able to work as little as four hours is helpful during weeks when he has more going on.
Earlier this year, former Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore told The Catalyst that “statistical challenges” make it difficult to assess how student wages at CC compare to peer institutions.
“I feel great about it,” said Shields, “I just came from a summer job that was much higher paying in Washington, so I’m really glad it’s a little higher compared to what I was making.”
Shafer says the wage increase is mutually beneficial; “Students like to work and there are students that need to work. And the school also has programs that it runs [that rely on student workers] … that’s why it was so exciting that it worked out. It’s a benefit for everybody this year.”
“We were quite excited at the investment that was [made possible] for this really important part of our workforce on this campus,” said Seager.