A minimum wage increase has caused budget adjust­ments at the college.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law on Labor Day that raised the minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 per hour.

“If the cost goes up, you either reduce hours or increase your budget,” Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé said. “Ideally, we want to make sure our budget doesn’t grow. There might be other dis­cre­tionary things we can cut if we need to keep budgets under control, and that’s what we plan to do.”

Each department is han­dling this chal­lenge dif­fer­ently.

Senior Assistant Director of Admis­sions Andrea Clark said the admis­sions office hopes to hire more stu­dents this year because of its goals, so student pay will be a larger portion of their budget than in past years.

“Probably the most notable adjustment would be that starting student ambas­sadors used to have a wage that was notably higher than minimum wage,” Clark said. “As the minimum wage has increased little by little over the past decade, the dif­ference in minimum and starting ambas­sador wage has become smaller.”

In fact, the starting student ambas­sador pay was lower than the new minimum wage. Now, those new to the position will receive the minimum pay, while those with more expe­rience will earn above it.

The law also affected Mossey Library.

“We were for­tunate enough to have already bud­geted addi­tional monies for our student workers this fiscal year,” said Linda Moore, public service librarian. “Rather than cut student hours if our budget ran short, we would have spent less in another area, as the library cannot operate without our student workers.”

Director of the College Book­store Cynthia Willing explained her budget is made two years in advance. Therefore, student employees will be working fewer hours to com­pensate for the increase.

The law also gave per­mission for an optional training period where an employee younger than 20 years old can be paid $4.25 per hour for 90 days.

Péwé said, however, that the college decided to jump straight to the $8.15 per hour pay.

“When you start adding all these dif­ferent pro­vi­sions of laws, statutes, things of that nature, it costs you time, money, pro­duc­tivity. Things you’d rather spend doing ben­e­ficial things, [like] serving the mission of the college,” Péwé said.

Not all depart­ments with student employees will be affected by the law.

General Manager of Bon Appétit, Jeffrey Every, said his employees are already paid above the minimum wage. Deb Johnson, coor­di­nator of the copy and postal centers, explained her employees are paid per piece of mail they process.

However, the law also included a 25 percent raise over the next four years, so that by 2018, the minimum wage will be $9.25 per hour. If this becomes a problem, the depart­ments will find a solution at that time.

For­tu­nately for stu­dents who are inter­ested in on-campus employment, Péwé shared that there aren’t plans to decrease the number of stu­dents being hired at the school.

“Employers today want the employees they hire to have already had expe­rience,” Péwé said. “They want that trial period to be with somebody else, and once they know this is a good employee because they have done great work for somebody else, they don’t have to take a chance.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: | twitter: @RightandNoble