Illinois Universities: Raise the Minimum Wage, and We'll Have to Layoff Student Workers

Daniel Doherty

5/1/2014 2:15:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Hiking the minimum wage is exceedingly popular and a top economic priority of the current administration. And yet students who attend colleges in Illinois might be breathing a sigh of relief now that the proposed Senate bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 is going nowhere. But they’re not off the hook just yet. To wit, a bill is currently making its way through the Illinois state legislature, which if adopted would raise the hourly minimum wage to $10.65. Some universities, however, are warning that if the proposed law does take effect, many of their students would lose their jobs, or at least see their hours reduced.

Campus Reform reports:

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 [$10.65].

“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.

These real world consequences often go unmentioned when discussing the supposed benefits of raising the minimum wage. As it turns out, it’s often young people and students who pay the price when the do-gooders get their way.