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Emory announces minimum wage increase for hourly student workers
Students at a distance on campus

Emory University will increase its minimum wage for student workers to $15 an hour over the next three years. The minimum hourly pay rate for all student workers will rise to $12 an hour in January 2023. In September 2023, rates will increase to $13.50 and increase again in September 2024 to $15 an hour.  

The plan was approved Nov. 28, 2022, by the Integrated Financial Planning and Budgeting Executive Committee, following reviews and input from a wide range of stakeholders including students, faculty and deans, among others.  

“Student workers play a vital role at Emory, and we’re pleased that our pay rates will better reflect their important role on our campus and continue to keep pace with the competitive employment market,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.  

A workgroup comprising representatives from across the university was charged earlier this year to examine student pay rates and make recommendations to ensure competitive wages. As the university began to resume more normal operations after COVID-related restrictions eased, the institution observed a growing number of units struggling to find student workers for open positions, notes Theresa Milazzo, vice president for human resources. 

Prior to this change, most of Emory’s student workers earned an hourly rate of $9 to $12 per hour, but each hiring unit set individual pay, which resulted in variations across the institution. The new minimum hourly rates will apply to all student workers across Emory, including undergraduate, graduate and work-study students. In addition to the new pay rates, Emory Human Resources will now oversee student pay to ensure competitiveness. 

“Just as the job market for Emory alums is strong, so is demand for our current students. It’s important we stay competitive to ensure we attract and retain our student workers,” says Milazzo. “Part of our new practices will be ongoing monitoring of market conditions to ensure we keep pace with other employers.” 

Both students and hiring managers support the increases, according to Milazzo. “Emory units want to hire student workers whenever possible — it’s a great way to support our students, and Federal Work-Study Program contributions often make hiring students a cost-effective option as well. It’s truly a win-win situation.”  

Just more than 5,000 students are employed by the university. The cost of the projected pay rate increases is expected to range from approximately $625,000 to $800,000 annually over the next few years. As with similar expenses, such as annual merit increases for non-student employees, the student minimum wage increase will become part of the university’s overall $2.1 billion annual operating budget, which is funded through various revenue streams, including philanthropy, tuition, auxiliary services and research, among others. By implementing the increase over three fiscal years, individual units will have more flexibility to prepare for additional costs, administrators say. 

Hourly-paid students who are currently below the new minimum wage will see the increase effective with the first pay period of 2023, beginning Jan. 8. Unit human resources managers will receive additional information to prepare for the change later this month, according to Milazzo.

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