After successful student petitions urging NAU to increase its campus minimum wage, President Cheng has decided to increase the campus minimum wage from $8.50 to $10 per hour. Her decision, announced April 18 at the Spring Campus Forum, is a recent topic of discussion among student employees.
Senior and student worker Nick Angiulo will finish his third year as an employee at NAU this May. Although Angiulo is hopeful that the raise will encourage future students to become employees, he is also wary of its financial consequences.
“I think it’s a mixed bag. In theory it’s a good thing because people, especially college students, deserve the raise in pay. No matter what though, it’s going to affect other factors of student life like budgeting, for example,” Angiulo said.
Haylee Jimeno, a senior and employee for the English department, expressed her approval of the future wage increase.
As a graphic designer for the English department, Jimeno is required to purchase all the design programs she utilizes for her job out of her own pocket, despite the current student employee minimum wage of $8.50 per hour.
“I personally don’t think our current pay is enough considering that I have to pay for all my own programs,” Jimeno said. “The wage increase will definitely help future students live more comfortably.”
According to Jimeno, her department operates on a specific budget that only allows for student employees to work a limited number of hours per week.
Because she is a senior, the department schedules Jimeno more often, though she does not think this is fair to the other student employees.
After the minimum wage increase, departmental budgeting will be of concern, as suggested by Jimeno.
“Overall, if I were an incoming student looking for a job after they increase the minimum wage, I would definitely consider NAU as an employer even more than I do now,” Jimeno said.
Once implemented, the wage increase from $8.50 to $10 for part-time workers will still only affect less than 30% of student employees due to departmental differences.
As reported by Director of Career Development Emily McCarthy, this is not the first wage increase NAU has seen in recent years. Fall 2017 saw an increase from previous campus minimum wage of $8.05 to the current $8.50 after President Cheng realized the benefits of job availability granted the wage increase.
McCarthy said that the university hopes to maintain the number of jobs available to students and staff after the raise is executed.
“We hope that the turnover in student jobs would be reduced, leading to more continuity,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy further commented on the future of campus pay, given that the city of Flagstaff minimum wage rests at an even $12 for part-time employees as compared with NAU’s significantly lower pay.
“Raising the student wage in the future is something that the university continues to look at, and also something that is impacted by multiple factors,” McCarthy said.