The University of Washington Bothell announced a plan Monday evening to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all campus employees by 2017, a plan which has excited university administration and students.
“I think everyone here is very excited to be able to do this, to support the people on the university campus,” university spokeswoman Lisa Hall said.
Hall said many employees on-campus are already making $13 an hour, with all student employees and staff making at least that amount by Jan. 1, 2016. By the same time next year, that amount will bump up to $15 an hour.
The decision follows the University of Washington Seattle campus’ decision to raise wages to $15, also announced Monday.
“We’re in full support of Seattle’s decision. We endorse what they decided to do,” Hall said.
The University of Washington Bothell opened it’s doors in 1990 and currently offers around 45 degrees in core fields such as science, technology, education, mathematics, engineering and nursing.
Jessica Dowell is an education major in her junior year at UW Bothell.
“I think that’s great, I think the minimum wage should definitely be bumped up,” she said.
In 2014, the university enrolled around 5,000 students, and employed more than 700 staff and faculty, not including student employees.
Hall said the university budgeted for the increases, so the higher wages won’t be funded through additional student fees.
This stands in contrast to the university’s Seattle branch, which funds some positions through student fees, according to a press release issued by the university.
The Seattle branch pay raises will effect around 5,500 workers, including around 3,500 student employees, the release said. Nearly 44,800 students were enrolled at the Seattle branch in 2014.
A spokeswoman for Cascadia College, which shares the UW Bothell campus, said in a prepared statement they will not be raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“As a small community college, we operate under different employment rules, bargaining agreements and fiscal constraints,” the statement read.
Incoming Cascadia freshmen Gio Boff and Alex Arntson hope their college eventually follows UW.
“There isn’t enough time in the work week to have enough money for personal and school costs,” Arntson said.
“And having enough time to go to college,” said Boff.
The UW Bothell decision marks the first time a major entity on the Eastside has opted to raise the minimum wage. The Seattle mayor and City Council approved a city-wide plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 in June of last year, with wages rising to $11 an hour last April during a graduated phase-in.
Seattle’s decision was preceded by the city of Sea-Tac voting to raise wages in 2013. Other cities including Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco have either passed $15 minimum wage laws, or are considering them.
Hall hopes an increase in income will allow student employees to focus more on their studies.
“It’ll help them, it will give them a little bit of a financial boost,” she said. “This will certainly enhance the student experience.”