By Patrick Fitzgerald
Special to The Guardsman
On April 25 all City College student workers will receive a pay increase from $9 to $10.74 per hour, a minimum wage rate that matches the City and County of San Francisco.
The $9 wage rate was set more than five years ago.
Final approval will be discussed at the next board meeting on April 24.
The wage rate increase initiative has been a collaborative effort involving all City College locations, associated student councils and other City College committees.
The initiative took shape as a formal recommendation from the Participatory Governance Council to Chancellor Arthur Tyler.
“I am excited. It should have been sooner. There’s only one month left,” Rodney McGlown, a student worker, said. “We work hard.”
City College’s perceived budgetary constraints are partially responsible for low student wages.
Discussions about the increase pivoted for a time on the notion that if wages increased, available student work hours would need to be trimmed.
Student council representatives helped identify a potential source of unused, unrestricted funds under the Federal Work-Study program. These funds made it possible to consider a hike in the student minimum wage.
“I would like to say that this was definitely a battle that was fought in the best interest of the students and their hard work that they all contribute to this precious school of ours,” Oscar Pena, Associate Student Council president of Ocean campus, said.
Once student representatives overcame the budget argument, they pressed hard for timely action before their terms in office expired in July. Their persistence looks to have paid off.
“I think it is awesome,” Paul Dal Porto said. “I am excited about it, but I want to make sure it is fair for everyone.”
Nevertheless, the number of hours for work-study students will be affected by the wage increase as federal guidelines specify each student’s total annual program earnings cap.
In addition to helping students with their educational costs, the Federal Work-Study Program helps participating colleges in hiring workers through a matching-funds program that makes the hourly wage less expensive for the college.
Departments that rely on federal work-study students need to consider losing skilled student workers sooner because of the earning maximum.
“Right now, the Federal Work-Study Program does a disservice to the students and to the departments that employ them,” Tracey Faulkner of City College’s Family Resource Center, said. “It is just too small (of an) amount of money.”
Students interested in the Federal Work-Study Program should visit the financial aid information center located in Room 331 in Cloud Hall at Ocean campus. Any student can apply by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
An event is being planned to celebrate the student wage-rate increase.