Harper Student Workers Receive Pay Increase

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Harper Student Workers Receive Pay Increase

Zoe Alexander helping a student find their class. Photo by Carla Wilson.

Zoe Alexander helping a student find their class. Photo by Carla Wilson.

Zoe Alexander helping a student find their class. Photo by Carla Wilson.

Zoe Alexander helping a student find their class. Photo by Carla Wilson.

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Student aide wages at Harper College went from $8.50 to $9 at the start of the 2019 fall semester. This is one of the first steps toward raising the pay rate to $15 by 2025.

The raise at Harper came after Governor Pritzker enacted a new minimum wage for the state of Illinois. Harper College must follow state law.

In January 2020, student aides’ pay will go to $10.25.

A pay raise can help many Harper students– like 20-year-old Zoe Alexander– focus better on school.

“It helps me because the more I get paid at Harper the less I will have to work outside of school which allows me to save more time to study,” Alexander explained.

The decision to implement the raise at the start of fall 2019 semester was made by Kathleen Canfield, Director of Job Placement Center and Lisa Helwink, ​Systems and Employment Manager in Human Resources.

While they weren’t required to enforce the raise this year, they decided to increase the pay as soon as possible because they felt that low wages was a big reason students didn’t want to work on campus.

All student aides will be receiving the same pay wage, regardless of experience or time on the job.

For student worker Quasin Deen, who has been working as a student aide for two years, this doesn’t seem fair. He felt his experience should earn him more. Nonetheless, Deen said he is grateful for the raise and that news students aides got lucky and came at the right time.

Quasin Deen sitting at the front desk of Math and Science Office. Photo by Carla Wilson.

Canfield explained that student aides can receive a 25 cent increase every semester, “provided that they are doing a good job.

Student aides are still only able to work 20 hours a week. The school feels strongly that students can work at maximum 20 hours if they plan to succeed as students. This is also the national average for colleges and universities, according to the ​National Student Employment Association.

Students are also required to have at least six credit hours during fall and spring semester to be eligible for employment as a student aide at Harper.

“If you are only talking three credits, then you are here [such a] short amount of time, Canfield stated. “You’re not going towards a degree or certificate. And that’s really [what] student aide positions are aimed for.

For students who question the value of having a student aide position, Canfield has a few reasons a student aide position can be helpful.

“One, you are already here, so you are on campus. You don’t have to drive to Woodfield or some place and have to park the car or take a bus,” Canfield explained. “So it’s convenient.”

In addition, students gets to decide their hours.
“If you were working off campus, those employers will tell you to create your work schedule first then do your class schedule around [their] work schedule,” Canfield added.

Canfield also believes that a student aide position looks much better on a resume over other job options students tend to employ.

Student Zoe Alexander confirmed that having a student aide position is worth it for her, despite the limited hours.

Zoe Alexander sitting at the front desk in Liberal Arts Office (L203). Photo by Carla Wilson.

“It’s a good experience and it’s definitely beneficial for me since I live out of district and it really helps me with my tuition,” She continued. “Also it’s really convenient because it’s scheduled around my class times so I can work without having to go away from the school.”