Grad student TAs deserve pay raise

by Daily Editorial Board

At the University of Minnesota, some graduate teaching assistants say they want a raise, according to a report by the Minnesota Daily.
Currently, graduate assistants’ wages fluctuate each year, with the Office of Human Resources determining the maximum and minimum permissible payments.
However, within the established range, individual colleges and departments decide their assistants’ salaries. 
Currently, the minimum salary for a graduate teaching assistant, who works full time for 12 months, is $36,962. For those who work full time for nine months, the minimum salary is $27,719. However, many graduate assistants do not work full time, and they consequently receive less money. 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for graduate teaching assistants last year was $31,570, while the mean is $32,970. This places the University’s minimum 12-month salary at a significantly higher level than the national averages. However, Council of Graduate Students president Andrew
McNally said that graduate assistants’ wages are not always enough to cover the costs of living in a city like Minneapolis. 
Graduate assistants’ pay range is scheduled to increase by 2 percent in June, pending approval by the University’s Board of Regents. Whether this increase will be sufficient to meaningfully benefit part-time graduate assistants remains to be seen. 
The University depends on its graduate assistants to teach many of its courses. Their work is supremely valuable, and if they are struggling to make ends meet, we would favor a more substantial pay increase than 2 percent.