The University of Michigan Board of Regents officially approved a $15 minimum wage for student workers on all three University campuses on June 16 following months of activism from the University’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America. The minimum wage, which officially went into effect on Aug. 21, has received support from student workers across campus.
According to the regents, the increase in minimum wage was initiated to help alleviate the financial stress some campus workers face by rising prices. The regents previously approved a $15 minimum wage for non-temporary University employees in June 2021.
LSA senior Devin Zhang worked as a student technician and said the increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour gives students more flexibility to their schedules and improves work-life balance. However, he said there are more steps the University can take to support student workers, such as providing benefits for part-time employees.
“From my personal experience, trying to balance paying off my student loans and paying off my rent led to tons of financial stress, which just really weighs on you each day and affects all aspects of your life,” Zhang said. “Adding benefits… is a suggestion that would help out student workers under financial stress.”
Consistent with Zhang’s views, LSA junior Tiffany Crews works as a tour guide and said the $15 minimum wage helps her balance her job along with her classes.
“Rent in Ann Arbor is very high and, as a full-time student, working enough hours to meet rent prices is nearly impossible with a full class schedule,” Crews said. “To alleviate financial stress further, I believe the University could institute a higher minimum wage for Pell Grant eligible students or a similar system for students in financial need.”
However, even with increased compensation, some campus workers feel the new minimum wage will not make a difference.
LSA senior Dat Huynh, who works for Dining, said although the jobs are flexible, increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not enough to alleviate students’ financial stress.
“The jobs are okay and very flexible around a student’s schedule which is the best perk, (and)being on campus and close also helps,” Huynh said. “The new $15 wage does not alleviate financial stress because most students are only working part time (or 10 to 15 hours). Increasing the minimum wage to $15 will barely give students more money, even less if you account for taxes.”
Daily Staff Reporter Jonathan Wang can be reached at email@example.com.