Letter to the Editor: OSU is paying its students starvation wages

General Opinion Graphic

Diego Leon Patino

Attending a university is a job in itself. It requires going to classes, hours of homework, hours of study, and puts a good amount of stress on students. For students who don’t come from a privileged background, many find themselves taking up a second job to try and make ends meet while still managing their primary job of trying to pass their classes. Students who find work at OSU are making minimum wage, which currently stands at $11.25 an hour. To understand just how low this wage is, a living wage in Benton county is $12.77 an hour, according to the most recent figures from the MIT Living Wage Calculator. This means that OSU isn’t even paying its students living wages (29% of students don’t have enough money to make ends meet at the end of each month).The university ought to at least pay its students a living wage and ensure that student fees don’t increase as a result of pay increases which the administration can prevent by financing student pay through tuition. Since student employment currently takes up 14% of the $4.6 million student investment, this would leave an additional ~$644,000 that could be used to subsidize meal plans for low income students, subsidize on-campus housing expenses for homeless students, and eliminate the student dependency on the HSRC. One could make the argument that tuition would increase as a result of financing student pay through tuition; however, that doesn’t have to happen. The OSU administration has plenty of privilege and therefore can influence state policy. If they wanted to, they could lobby the state legislature to increase funding to the university in order to pay their students living wages–a much more effective approach than sending students who won’t be taken seriously.

Diego Leon Patino

Public health major

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