Working students hope minimum wage hike will help

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Too many of us know the struggle of having to work while attending school.

There are only so many hours in the day.

Working students must find time to attend and pay attention in class, complete homework assignments, study for upcoming exams, be on time and perform well at work, stay healthy and try to get a good night’s sleep.

Many do all this only to wake up and do it all again the next day.

“[Living on your own] forces you to mature and take responsibility. Mom isn’t there to do your laundry or cook you food or help you when you’re sick. You have to get up, clean, buy your own food, which is where I spend most of my money … It’s not a party, it’s a step closer to be- ing an adult in the real world,” said Baili Kurtz, a Delta student who recently moved out of her parents’ household.

It’s hard to find many students these days on Delta’s campus that aren’t working part-time or full-time.

Students seem to be looked at as super heroes if they work and go to school but do they have another option?

The minimum wage in San Joaquin county is currently $9 an hour.

In January, it will increase to $10.

This action was taken in hopes of helping those of us who are trying to support ourselves while only receiving minimum wage.

Some think that this action will do the oppo- site.

“I think minimum wage rising is just going to cause a domino effect of people’s hours getting cut and prices of everything else rising. Mini- mum wage jobs were made as a stepping-stone to a career. Flipping burgers was never made to be a job to support a family,” said Kurtz.
Students are going to school for a higher education in hopes of eventually landing higher paying jobs so they aren’t stuck in the minimum wage jobs.

The minimum wage now isn’t enough to sup- port someone attending school part time or full time.

Having to pay for rent, utilities, car, gas, classes, and books it’s hard to imagine someone being able to afford anything on $9 an hour, being part time or full time and maintaining an acceptable grade-point average.

“It can be feasible to live off $9 if you man- age your expenses correctly but it would still be difficult,” said Isai Ramirez, a Delta student who works part time at Blaze Pizza in Tracy.

It’s not only about living paycheck to paycheck.

“It is very difficult having a job and going to school due to the stress of school and getting home late from work,” said Ramirez.
Minimum wages are different everywhere in the United States due to the expense of living in that area.

It may be difficult to support oneself on just a minimum wage job, but raising the wage isn’t the only way to make more money.

“I think if you really want to make more money, work longer hours or get two jobs. I work almost 70 hours a week and take 16 units, instead of blaming my employer for not paying me more an hour, I get my butt out there and work more hours,” added Kurtz.

The issue of supporting oneself while going to school isn’t only affected by minimum wage, but also financial aid.

If you were born after Jan. 1, 1992, aren’t married, don’t have any children, aren’t serving in the armed forces, or a veteran, you’re considered a dependent student and must report your parents’ income on your FAFSA.

This means even if you live on your own and don’t receive help from your parents, regardless of what they make, that income will count against you.

Sometimes parents do help out but other times they can’t or don’t.