UW News

April 10, 2015

UW raises minimum wage to $11 per hour for all student workers

UW News

The University of Washington announced today it is increasing the minimum pay for its student workers to $11 an hour, effective April 1, 2015, consistent with its announcement March 31 that it was moving 70 non-student staff earning below $11 to the new level. Approximately 2,600 student workers are affected.

On March 31, the University said it was working with student groups to assess the feasibility of increasing student worker wages. Student jobs at the UW are funded from a number of different sources, including hundreds funded by student fees. The Services and Activities Fee Committee (SAF) which allocates student fees to a variety of programs, many of which employ students, needed to assess the impact of the increase on its budget. The SAF Committee has now completed its analysis.

“Increasing student wages to $11 will definitely have an impact on programs funded by SAF; the aggregate cost being around $400,000,” said Committee Chair Mac Zellem, an economics major. “The Committee felt raising the campus minimum wage was the right thing to do. We want to ensure that student jobs remain competitive and that student workers are treated the same as their peers across campus and Seattle. Funding the increase and costs associated with this will either have to come from an increase in the Services and Activities fee, further administrative support for some programs, or a reduction of programs.”

Language currently proposed by the Governor, the Senate, and the House does not permit SAF to raise fees a sufficient level to cover the costs of the wage increase. The SAF Committee will continue to look at the effect further wage increases would have on students.

The presidents of the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), Christina Xiao, and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), Alice Popejoy, have been working closely with SAF and the university administration to ensure that students will achieve a net benefit from the minimum wage increase.

“We are thrilled to see the University raise student wages to meet the $11 standard,” said Xiao.

“ASUW and GPSS will continue to work with the university to increase student wages without compromising programs, while engaging students in a dialogue about the potential impact and alternative solutions to fee increases,” Popejoy added.

“I am grateful to student leadership and the Services and Activities Fee Committee for their work on this matter,” said UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce. “I know they faced some hard choices, but I am pleased that we can now increase the minimum wage of all of our student workers — regardless of their source of funding. In doing so, we are acknowledging the spirit of Seattle’s effort and our commitment to treat every employee fairly. Future increases may be more difficult to accomplish, but with continued input from our students we will make every effort to be in synch with the city that is so much a part of our identity.”