SGA encourages UA to increase student wages

Alex Gravlee, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution encouraging the University to work towards increasing student wages and curating a new pay scale.  

This is the second time this bill has come to the Senate floor after being sent to the Student Affairs Committee.  

While the resolution does not specify a specific wage or pay scale, Arts and Sciences Sen. Xzarria Peterson, the author of the resolution, said $10 would be the best possible minimum. She added that the maximum wage should be left up to the departments.  

Currently, minimum student wage varies by department, with some paying $7.25, the federal minimum wage, while others pay $20 or higher.  

“As a student worker myself … I got tired of getting paid $7.25, and I’ve realized that a lot of other schools around us had started to move towards increasing student worker wages,” said Peterson. “I thought that we might be able to do the same.”  

Peterson said student wages should be raised to accommodate for living expenses like food and transportation, which some student workers struggle to pay for. 

She said that while she thinks the biggest obstacle to increasing wages is finding the necessary funds, she believes it is possible. The resolution states that Emory University, a private university in Atlanta, Georgia, announced a plan to progressively raise student wages to $15 for the school’s 5,000 student workers from 2023 to 2024.  

The shift is predicted to cost the university from $625,00 to $800,000 annually over the course of its implementation. Emory increased its student wages to $12 per hour in January 2023, planning to pay students $15 hourly by September 2024.  

Peterson said she would like to encourage all departments to keep spreadsheets of student workers’ pay to keep track of how much they’re getting paid. She said this would allow the departments to analyze and close the pay gap between students.  

The author said she doesn’t plan on bringing more legislation concerning student wages to the SGA since her senate term ends in April.  

The resolution was endorsed by 11 people, including President Madeline Martin and Vice President of Student Affairs Luke Dille.