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May 02, 2014 11:41 AM EDT

Minimum Wage Increase: Illinois Colleges Warn Hike Could Force Them To Fire Student Workers

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School officials at college in Illinois are warning that if the state raises the minimum wage, the y will cut hours for student workers, Campus Reform reported.

"Right now, we are able to hire eight part-time student workers in the Athletic Department," Mac Ingmire, athletic director at Lincoln Christian University, told 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 our students to work would be cut."

The minimum wage in Illinois is currently $8.25, the third highest in the nation, behind Washington and Oregon. Legislation is pending to raise it to $10.65.

Western Illinois University Budget Director told Journal Standard that the minimum wage hike would likely force the college to fire some of its nearly 1,500 student workers.

"In order to keep the same number of employees and hours if the minimum wage was raised, we'd have to look at tuition increases and cuts in the budget elsewhere, including cuts in employment. There's no donor who's going to step up and donate to fund student employment," Bierman said. "We either have to raise student fees or make reductions in student employment."

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which employees nearly 10,000 undergraduate students each year, already spends nearly $20 million on their wages. Students are given the opportunity to work their way up to a %15.75 per hour.

"Obviously if the minimum wage increases, it would significantly increase the cost of employing students," Dan Mann, director of student financial aid at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Journal Standard. "Some students would earn more, but most likely we wouldn't be able to employ as many total student workers." 

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