The Student Senate fees committee decided not to propose any fees concerning raising University minimum wage during its meeting Feb. 18.
The University raised the minimum wage of student employees to match the state increase in January, which was paid for by rearranging the Student Employment budget internally.
However, the Missouri minimum wage will continue to increase by $0.85 each year until 2023. If the University were to match these increases, Student Senate would have to pass a fee to increase the Student Employment budget.
During its second meeting, the fees committee discussed whether it was in the best interests of students to continue to pass a fee to raise the University minimum wage. The committee decided it was not a pressing matter to address at this time.
Students, including senior Alyssa Lincoln, discussed their experiences working both on and off campus, and how the majority of their income comes from their off-campus jobs.
Lincoln said students working 20 hours per week in an on-campus job at minimum wage could pay rent in most off-campus housing in Maryville and is “sufficient and stable for the time being.” She said the trade-off for higher wages is off-campus jobs lack some conveniences that on-campus jobs provide.
“I believe that student employment comes with a variety of benefits that sweeten the deal for these positions,” Lincoln said. “The benefits of working an on-campus job make up for the lower hourly wage than one may find off-campus, a sacrifice that students pay to receive these benefits.”
Junior Taylor Moore, who also works at Dairy Queen and at a nonprofit political organization, said she is comfortable being paid less for her on-campus job in the residence halls because it’s easier.
“My desk job is easier because I am able to do homework while working the desk for Residential Life,” Moore said. “I also rarely have residents come to the desk, and I am only responsible for easy tasks.”
Assistant Complex Director Priyanka Khanal said since international students can’t work off campus without a special visa, it’s not fair to the University to not raise minimum wage with the state rate.
“As an international student, the only source of income for me is my school employment,” Khanal said. “Yes, the University works with students while scheduling according to our timing, but as an international student our options are very limited and our school bills is comparatively higher than domestic students.”
Khanal said she would like to hear more about the committee’s reasoning behind the decision before passing judgment, but noted international students have their hands tied with rising tuition and fees and the University in control of wages.
Vice President of Student Affairs Matt Baker said he will continue to communicate with Student Senate about the issue, but would like to bring it back to Student Senate at a later time, especially given the ongoing discussion about lowering the co-curricular fee.