Increase in minimum wage anticipated to assist students
By Kendra Straub
The state of Arizona will raise minimum wage 15 cents an hour in early 2013, from $7.65 to $7.80 per hour. Arizona’s minimum wage is currently above the federal minimum, which is $7.25 per hour.
This increase is anticipated to benefit both Northern Arizoona University (NAU) students and other college campuses in the state.
Meaghan McGill, a junior criminal justice major, is in full support of the increase.
“I absolutely agree that the minimum wage should increase to be competitive with states such as California,” McGill said. “Because living costs in college towns such as Flagstaff are high, the living cost in Flagstaff requires really monetary demands to something as simple as renting an apartment.”
The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country, at $9.04 per hour. However, with tipped labor, there is a set minimum wage of $2.13 an hour as long as the final income, including tip, meets minimum wage.
Working full time at the current minimum wage, the average wage for college students in Arizona totals to $306 per week, before taxes.
Tracy Valgento, a senior history major, was one of those students.
“A number of students and people who work at NAU generally, such as campus dining, are getting paid minimum wage,” Valgento said. “Students can’t work full time, thus it is essential for them to be paid more. I worked for six months at a part-time minimum wage job and only earned enough to pay rent for two months.”
“I think it is necessary, especially as a college student,” McGill, who is employed by the Student Technology Center, said. “It’s imperative to be able to survive in such an expensive day and age.”
If a student works 25 hours a week, and is being paid the current minimum wage in Arizona at $7.65, the student would earn $9,945 a year. However, with the increase of 15 cents, that same student would earn $10,140 a year.