City College of San Francisco students who work on campus are poised to receive a raise after the college’s leadership voted to align its student employee minimum wage with The City’s.
The minimum wage in San Francisco is $14 per hour, but the some 1,300 student employees working across CCSF’s 11 campuses make far less than that, earning $10.74 per hour.
Student employees at CCSF work as lab aides, in libraries, do administrative work and assist faculty, said CCSF spokesperson Jeff Hamilton. They are placed in jobs through the Federal Work Study Program, which is federally funded, as well as the state-funded CalWorks work-study program.
“It has to be academically related and support their studies,” he said. Student workers who are ineligible for both programs are also hired as lab aides and funded by CCSF’s general fund.
“We know our students struggle to make ends meet,” said former Student Trustee Bouchra Simmons. “The cost of living, daycare and food creates so many insecurities for our students… Even working at McDonald’s, you are getting paid San Francisco minimum wage.”
Simmons spearheaded a resolution to match student wages with those of minimum wage workers throughout The City, which she first introduced to the college’s Board of Trustees in May.
Raising the minimum wage not only improves students’ personal and academic well being, but supports the college’s ongoing efforts to retain students, Simmons argued. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support Simmons’ resolution, and the new wages will likely take effect Jan. 1.
“Not only will students benefit from this, CCSF will, too,” said Brigitte Davila, vice president of the CCSF Board of Trustees. “I know from teaching at [San Francisco State University] that it’s hard to recruit people when they can make more with City wages outside [of campus]. We have vacant position that are impossible to fill.”
California community colleges are not required to comply with city minimum wage regulations. The passage of Proposition J by San Francisco voters in 2014 mandates incremental minimum wage increases and will set the standard at $15 per hour in 2018.
At CCSF, student workers last received a pay increase in 2014, when Simmons and CCSF Trustee Shanelle Williams, then a student trustee, worked to raise students’ minimum wage from $9 to $10.74 per hour.
“I don’t know any other community colleges in the Bay Area that are doing this,” Williams said of raising minimum wage to match The City’s.
With the new pay raise, student wages will cost City College some $800,000 annually, according to CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha.
Past administrations’ arguments against increasing the minimum wage for students were based on budget constraints and on cutting student work hours, Simmons said.
“We will not be cutting hours. We will have same amount of hours and we can [afford] to fund this,” CCSF Trustee John Rizzo said. “ It’s a long time overdue.”