A very minimum wage


by Kelly Drobac

Many students complain that work-study pay isn’t fair. Most students at Simpson work for $5.15 per hour while undergraduate assistants can earn $7.25 per hour. But no matter how much students complain, work-study pay is unlikely to go up.

Bill Geiger, associate director of financial assistance, said students are paid minimum wage so the college can offer more work-study jobs.

“I don’t know what will happen in the next presidential election and if they will raise the minimum wage,” Geiger said. “If the minimum wage gets raised a dollar an hour, the cost of the college would go up $100,000 and that would mean that Simpson would just offer fewer work-study jobs to students.”

Freshman Ashley Cudworth works in Dunn Library, but she doesn’t make much money there.

“I earn $5.15 an hour on weekdays and $6.50 an hour on weekends,” she said. “And I normally work about five hours a week.”

Senior Sara Pohlmann is the undergraduate assistant for the Simpson College archives. She earns $7.25 an hour, the highest amount any work-study job at Simpson pays, but she had to apply for her job with two letters of reference and a resume, and go through an interview process before she was hired.

Pohlmann said she deserves the higher pay because her job is harder now.

“There is more responsibility with my undergraduate assistantship than there was with my previous $5.15-an-hour work-study job,” Pohlmann said.

In general, Simpson is paying a similar amount to its work-study employees as other colleges of comparable size in Iowa.

Central College students earn $5.15 an hour, but students who return to their jobs the following year get a raise. Some positions, such as tutors and other hard-to-fill jobs, receive slightly higher pay.

Almost 90 percent of the on-campus jobs at Cornell College allow freshmen to earn $5.15 per hour. Students working the night shift at the library and students in any supervisory position will earn more than $5.15 an hour, but the most they can earn is $7 an hour.

For Luther College, students’ work-study pay is standard at $5.30 per hour, but much like Simpson, Central and Cornell, there are some jobs in which students can earn more. Coe College students earn the most pay at their work-study jobs compared to the other schools. Coe pays students $6.65 per hour for on-campus jobs, $6.90 an hour for off-campus jobs and $8 an hour for tutoring.

Wartburg College pays students by a different system than other schools. Wartburg lets students earn a maximum of $1,500 in a year. This limit applies to first-year students only and it may be raised later on. To put this $1,500 allocation into perspective with other schools, Luther’s allocation is $1,750, and Coe starts out with $1,200 but limits work-study earnings to no more than $1,600.

While many students wish they made more money at their work-study jobs, none of these colleges are planning on giving students a raise anytime soon. Much like the rest, Simpson’s wages are likely to stay where they’re at in the future.