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Should Simpson re-evaluate student pay as tuition increases?

by Ashley Dalsing, Special to The Simpsonian

You can’t walk around campus during the week without seeing students taking a few hours out of their busy schedules to earn some extra money through work studies or undergraduate assistant positions.

At Simpson College, students have the option of a work study position that provides students with an opportunity to work part time on or off campus. Employment awards range anywhere from $1,000 to 1,500. These positions are offered for all students.

Students also have the option to apply for a work study position, which helps enhance a student’s academic experience and allow for professional growth. Work studies help students gain experience by working for a department they have an interest in or potentially want to pursue a career in. These positions are typically held by sophomores, juniors and seniors. Most positions receive a $8.25 hourly.

But there are some raising questions about the pay and the amount of work students are tasked with within their positions, especially after it was announced last month that Simpson’s tuition would increase by 4.1 percent next year.

Some work studies and even undergraduate assistant positions on campus don’t require much effort, but workers still receive the same pay as a student who may have a heavy workload on top of their homework and class schedule.

Robert Lyons, former Student Government Association president and co-editor of the Acorn, receives a stipend for both of his positions, though these positions aren’t being paid by the college, but rather through student government financing.

“I receive a stipend of $2,500 as the president for SGA and $400 a semester for the Acorn — a lot of work and hours that (goes) into both positions,” Lyons said.

As the SGA president, Lyons attended five to six committee meetings weekly, ran some of the social media, helped create agendas and appointments and met with every faculty adviser on campus, among many other responsibilities. The work added up to 20 hours weekly, and he remains at the $2,500 stipend only.

As the co-editor of the Acorn, he edits, writes and develops its end-of-semester print edition, an estimated 10 to 15 hours added on to Lyons’ busy schedule.

However, senior Stephanie Woodruff has a more laid back set of responsibilities with her work study.

“I work in the fitness center as an overseer, just watching who comes in and out to make sure no one breaks anything,” Woodruff said. “I also work games and events where I have a different responsibility either by setting up or tearing down among various other tasks.”

Woodruff can only work four to six hours per week, but when there are events she can get more hours in.

“My position is easy and fun,” Woodruff said. “It gives me time to do homework or watch a game.”

There are several undergraduate and work study positions that require students to work on a number of projects or tasks that take of a lot of time. However, there are positions on campus where students are able to work on homework or watch YouTube videos while working.

Should it be of consideration by the college to break down each work study or undergraduate position and review their responsibilities and roles within the position to determine the most accurate pay for the position?

Are students with demanding work study and UGA hours and responsibilities in need of a pay raise?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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