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University of Maryland raises student worker wages at College Park campus

Johanna Alonso//August 30, 2022

University of Maryland raises student worker wages at College Park campus

By Johanna Alonso

//August 30, 2022

The main administration building at University of Maryland, College Park. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

The University of Maryland, College Park, will be increasing its minimum wage for students workers to $15 an hour beginning in 2023, the school’s president said.

President Daryll Pines announced the pay increase in a welcome message to the campus at the start of its fall 2022 semester. The University System of Maryland increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour for nearly all its employees at the beginning of 2022, but the increase did not include student workers. 

“This is a significant multimillion-dollar investment in a key pillar of our strategic plan: to invest in people and communities,” Pines said in the welcome email, which was sent out on Monday, the first day of the university’s semester. He announced several other projects in the email, including the development of a fossil fuel-free power plant by 2035 and a new research partnership that will study ways to reduce gun violence. 

A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a series of questions about the pay increase, including how many students will be affected and how much the wage increase will cost the school.

Most universities in Maryland have a minimum wage for their student workers that is equivalent to the state’s minimum wage, which is $12.50 as of last January. Maryland’s minimum wage is currently on the rise, with legislation having passed in 2019 that steadily increases the state minimum wage to $15 an hour. Large employers — designated as those with 15 employees or more — will be required to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting on Jan. 1, 2025, while small employers have until July 1, 2026. 

Many colleges nationwide have made the choice to boost student workers’ wages in recent months, citing staffing shortages, inflation, and student demand as catalysts for the raises. The University of Minnesota is slated to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour in September; the state’s current minimum wage for large employers is $10.33.

In Colorado, where the minimum wage is $12.56, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently bumped its minimum wage for student employees up to $14 an hour. 

In Maryland, a handful of other schools have increased their minimum wages recently. Towson University increased pay for students to $15 an hour in January, in line with the systemwide pay increase for nonexempt employees. At another school in the USM, the University of Baltimore, increases to student worker wages are currently “under discussion,” a university spokesperson told The Daily Record on Tuesday. 

Johns Hopkins University, which is not part of the university system, implemented a $15 minimum wage for employees, including student workers, on July 1, 2021. 

At UMCP, students and advocates have long pushed for pay increases. In March of 2022, the college’s Student Government Association passed a bill encouraging the school to offer student employees a $15 an hour minimum wage, according to the university’s newspaper, The Diamondback. The bill was inspired by a petition pushing for the wage increase that had accrued over 1,200 signatures. 

Ayelette Halbfinger, the university’s SGA president, told The Daily Record in an email that a $15 minimum wage for student workers “has been something that both the student body at large and SGA have been pushing for.” 


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