Same Job, Lower Wages
By Sergio Candido
The wages among students in the Federal Work-Study Program attending community colleges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties ranges from $7.25 to $9.
Compared to other institutions of higher education in the tri-county area, Miami Dade College pays students the lowest wages. According to Berta De Leon, advisor and work-study coordinator at the North Campus, students in the Federal Work-Study Program earn $7.25 per hour for a maximum of 17 hours a week.
“It’s Florida’s standard, we can’t pay students less than that,” De Leon said.
Requirements to be part of the program are: students must be enrolled for at least six credits and maintain a 2.0 grade point average
Diane Sands, a nursing/pharmacy major who works at the admissions and registration office at the North Campus, has financial aid to cover her tuition, but during the summer financial aid only covers half of her classes.
“I would like to get paid more, but I doubt that it will happen,” Sands said. “I have to start saving money if I want to take summer classes.”
At Broward College, students in the Federal Work-Study Program earn $9 per hour for a maximum of up to 20 hours a week, according to the school’s Web site.
The salary gap between the two colleges is approximately $1,400 per semester.
Palm Beach Community College’s current wage for students is $8.05 but the amount may be higher depending on the type of work and the skills required, according to PBCC’s Web site.
Luis A. Betancourt, MDC college-wide director of work-study programs, said that the reasons for these wages are correlated with the amount of programs being offered and the large number of students working in them.
“Unlike other institutions, MDC has eight campuses to allocate funds. In order to fund as many students as possible we have to keep minimum wages,” Betancourt said.
“Would you rather have less programs, less students working and higher wages?”
The Federal Work-Study Program is administered by the college; it provides on-campus jobs for students who have demonstrated financial insufficiency as a result of completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The program allows students at the North Campus to work in more than 40 departments assisting with clerical work and other duties.
Several students said that they would like higher wages, but that in these difficult times, they are grateful for what they have.
Ana Martinez, 19, nursing major, who works in career services, said that working at the college is better than not having a job; still, she is looking for something that pays more.
“I can’t help my family with this salary,” Martinez said.
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