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UROP office increases student wage scales

Wages paid to student Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) workers have increased by 17 percent this fall, according to Associate Director of UROP Norma McGavern. UROP students are now paid $5.25 an hour, an increase of 75 cents an hour over the old rate.

Students receiving full or partial UROP wage support may now earn up to $700 total wages each semester as a result of an increase in Institute General Funds support, she said. UROP received an additional $20,000 this year. Student wages were limited to $600 each semester before the increase.

Wages of students who are paid entirely by their faculty supervisor are not limited, she added.

The UROP wage rate will remain below the current Institute student employee minimum wage of $5.50 an hour. The rate had been above the Institute minimum until 1982.

The increase in UROP funds "cannot be high enough to equal the new Institute mimimum rate," McGavern said.

Wages paid to undergraduate researchers by faculty, however, "have been more in tune with Institute minimum wages rates in recent years because of the generosity of faculty who have consistently been paying $5.25 or higher," she said.

Non-UROP sources have supplied approximately $3 million to UROP student wages, McGavern said. UROP's contribution has remained roughly $250,000.

Unchanged UROP budgets and inflation had forced UROP in the past to choose between continuing to pay below the Institute minimum and substantially cutting UROP participation to raise wages, McGavern explained.

UROP "would generally rather not shut the program off to any students," she said. They chose to continue with the lower wage this past summer despite the risk of losing undergraduates to more lucrative summer employment elsewhere, she added.

The low summer wages had no drastic effect on participation, according to McGavern. UROP students continue to participate despite being paid below the Institute mimimum because they value the experiences UROP offers, she added.