RA compensation plan to change

The compensation package for resident assistants will be modified beginning fall 2008, the director of Residential Services said.

Craig Allen, director of Residential Services, said RAs currently receive a free room and a paycheck that covers about 15 hours a week at minimum wage.

Minimum wage in Texas is $5.85, so RAs can earn between $1,490 and $1,755 per semester. All RAs are currently required to purchase a meal plan that can range from $1,000 to $1,200, the cost of which depends on the RAs classification, Allen said.

Next semester, however, RAs will receive a meal plan worth about $2,000 per semester to cover all on-campus dining expenses, Allen said.

“While the RAs will not get a paycheck like the one they do now, they won’t be required to purchase a meal plan,” Allen said. “So in regards to compensation, it’s about the same.”

Tunti Pereira, former head RA of Brachman hall, said change will help offset the rising cost of the meal plan.

“I think it’s actually a good idea,” Pereira said. “Since meal plans are increasing, a lot of RAs will benefit. However, some RAs who look forward to a paycheck to pay their bills or extra expenses might not feel the same way.”

Allen said RAs will also be paid $75 to $150 for two required training sessions.

“In the past, compensation for the training sessions have not been separate paychecks,” Allen said. “RAs can also work up to 10 to 12 hours a week in the office of their residence halls and get paid for that.”

RAs have the option to work extra office shifts for pay in addition to the two to four hours a week they are currently required to work, the compensation of which is included in their paycheck, Allen said.

The RA compensation package is changing, but the value of the compensation is not, Allen said.

“The more important benefits for RAs are not really a part of any compensation package,” Allen said. “The focus of the job is to build community relationships and gain leadership experience.”

Pereira said RAs aren’t in it for the money.

“The motives for RAs are not to get a free room and a paycheck,” Pereira said. “All of us loved our job position.”

The new compensation package is similar to the one already in place for RAs at SMU, which includes a single room and a meal plan, according to the university’s Web site.

At Baylor, “community leaders” receive a single room, 11 meals a week and $400 to $1,200 a year, depending on the length of their position, according to Baylor’s Web site.

According to the University of Texas at Austin‘s Web site, RAs are provided a shared double room and are paid about $118 per month.