Compensate USC RAs Fairly
Compensate USC RAs Fairly
Residential assistants (RAs) at USC are not being compensated properly.
RAs received their financial aid packages 1 to 2 weeks before they were due to start working. Most financial aid packages were much less than these students had received in the past. When students asked financial aid about this, they said it was because they were an RA.
What was financial aid’s explanation?
Financial aid uses this equation to calculate how much grant money a student will receive:
Cost of attendance - EFC = amount of grant aid
Financial aid took away the cost of housing and meals from the cost of attendance (about 10k per semester) from each RA, making the grant aid each RA got decrease by several thousands of dollars.
Ex: If Tommy Trojan was not an RA vs an RA:
Non-RA: 80k - 5k = 75k in grant money
RA: 70k - 5k = 65k in grant money
Tommy Trojan loses 10k in grant aid per semester from USC and is working 20+ hours a week.
Basically, RAs aren’t getting the free housing and dining they are promised because they are instead paying this money in tuition money due to their loss of grant aid.
Free housing and dining are not enough to compensate for the time and energy put into the role. RAs could not do their jobs if they didn’t live in their buildings. This is not adequate compensation for 24-hour emergency response shifts, trainings, weekly meetings, and planning and executing community events. Along with the demands of the role, RAs are still full-time students with other responsibilities. By not giving us the compensation we deserve, we are having to deal with decreased financial aid on top of academic responsibilities, demanding RA responsibilities, and trying to take care of our mental health. This makes it so that the RA role preys on low-income students who have few options outside of the role.
1. Amnesty for all RAs: All collection holds must be removed, immediately. RAs that have not been able to pay their bills have not been able to register for classes. Many RAs have accrued late fees for the same reasons listed in the previous item point. All late fees must be waived.
2. Stipend: A stipend of $10,730 per semester—equivalent to the cost of housing and dining for RAs at McCarthy Honors College, the costliest residential college, for equity purposes—to compensate for the reduction in our financial aid. This figure is low in comparison to what RAs get at other universities. Disbursement of the stipend must lead to no reduction in our financial aid and must also be applied to the Fall 2021 semester.
3. Resident Assistant Advisory Board: who sits in on higher-up meetings and decisions or some other means of allowing RAs to have a voice on the decisions impacting our livelihood.