Illinois colleges warn that pending minimum wage hike would force them to fire students
Officials at colleges in Illinois are warning that if the state hikes its minimum wage, it will have to cut hours for and even fire some student workers.
The minimum wage in the state is already $8.25 — the third highest in the nation — but there is legislation pending to raise it to $10.25.
One university already spends nearly $20 million employing its current student workers.
“Right now, we are able to hire eight part-time student workers in the Athletic Department,” Mac Ingmire, athletic director at Lincoln Christian University, said in an interview with Journal Standard. “If the minimum wage were to increase by two dollars or more, that number would be closer to four or five, and the hours we can offer to our students would be cut.”
Western Illinois University Budget Director Matt Bierman said the hike would likely force the college to fire some of its nearly 1,500 student workers.
“We either have to raise fees or make reductions in student employment,” he said.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign already spends nearly $20 million paying its nearly 10,000 undergraduate employees.
Dan Mann, director of student financial aid, said the school starts students out at minimum wage but gives them the opportunity to work their way up to $15.75 per hour. The legislation, he said, would give fewer students this opportunity.
“Some students would earn more, but most likely we wouldn’t be able to employ as many student workers,” he said.
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