- One in 10 higher education staff in 15 states and the District of Columbia will see their paychecks increase in the coming years as their institutions meet requirements of new minimum wage laws, according to a new report on higher ed salaries.
- In six states and the district, which have all set a $15 minimum wage, one in four employees will get a boost, according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). Future minimums range from $9.25 to $15 an hour, with five states raising their wage by 25% or more.
- Private and religious institutions will have a bigger adjustment than public colleges, as the former pay 14% and 17% of their staff less than the current minimum wage, respectively, compared to 8% at the latter.
CUPA-HR's report notes that the median salary increase for higher ed staff in the last year was 1.88%. That's compared to a 3% increase in the median salary in 2018 for all U.S. workers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management; increases were equal across hourly and salaried workers.
Campus employees have raised concern about low wages. Most notably, graduate assistants have rallied for higher pay and in some cases have gone on strike. Among their arguments is that their labor is critical to university operations.
The National Labor Relations Board announced last month that it plans to propose a rule determining whether student workers at private institutions can unionize — a key tool in their fight for higher pay. The rule is expected to make organizing more difficult for student workers.
Salaries at public institutions are closely tied to state funding levels, which have been slow to recover from huge cuts during the Great Recession. At private institutions, they are linked to endowments, where growth has been slow, too.
Overall state higher ed spending per student remains 13% below 2008 levels. However, a new report suggests those low levels have broader impacts, such as reducing the number of degree-bearing skilled workers in the U.S. and hurting economic growth by limiting institutions' research capacity.