Sanger Learning Center increases pay for student employees

Joelle DiPaolo, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 25, 2022 flipbook.

The Sanger Learning Center increased most student employee wages from $11.25 to $14 an hour this semester in an effort to attract more tutors. 

Paige Schilt, director of the Sanger Learning Center, said the center wanted to raise wages after seeing the pandemic’s effect on the labor market, which has caused the center to suffer a labor shortage. The center saved money during the pandemic by moving operations online, Schilt said, which gave them the funds to increase pay for employees through the 2022-23 school year. 

Student employees who have worked four or more semesters will now receive $15 an hour. Schilt said the center applied for additional funding from the University in hopes of continuing the increased wages beyond the next academic year. 

“We’re still very much engaged and trying to amass the funds to really change the pay structure … for the long term,” Schilt said. “We’re hoping that the University will make more recurring funds available to raise student wages.” 

Schilt said she hopes the pay increases incentivize more students to apply to be tutors. Last fall, the center had 280 student employees, as compared to 327 during the fall 2020 semester. 

“We know that students, through no fault of their own, experienced a lot of gaps in their education because of the pandemic, and we anticipate that the need for academic support is going to be greater than ever in the coming years,” Schilt said. “We really want to make sure that we’re well prepared and fully staffed.”

Chemistry junior Kimberly Ngo said she likes being a tutor with Sanger because she can set her own hours. She said the pay increase motivated her to work more hours. 

“I was gonna try and take it easy my last semester and just do schoolwork, but now with the pay increase, I’ll stay my last semester and get some extra money because it’s not really a taxing job,” Ngo said. 

Undeclared communications freshman Samia Tasnim, a Spanish tutor, said her employers at the center are very accommodating. 

“I think $14 is pretty acceptable at this point,” Tasnim said. “$11.25 was too low, especially if you’re doing a more intensive course.”

Schilt said she hopes the pay increase makes working at the center a more accessible job for students. 

“We see (being a tutor) as very skilled work and we want to definitely be able to pay our students in a way that recognizes the challenge of the work they do,” Schilt said. “We were concerned that we might not be attracting students who really need the job to support themselves.” 

Tasnim said the pay increase will help her save to live off campus next year. 

“The main reason I’m working right now is to save up for rent money next year because West Campus is expensive,” Tasnim said. “If I could get some extra cash, that would be wonderful.” 

Ngo said before the pay increase, she considered quitting in favor of a higher-paying job. 

“Now I can feel more content about my financial situation,” Ngo said. “Even just a couple (more) dollars (an hour) is so, so helpful.”