RA stipend dropped in favor of meal plan compensation

Alan Hieber, Contributing Writer

This year Resident Assistants (RAs) will not receive their usual stipend as part of their compensation this year,due to Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

Wright State Director of Housing Dan Bertsos explains how these two are related.

“By compensating students’ room and board, we don’t get tangled up with the ACA. The record keeping we have to do for RAs on time cards required by the ACA would be difficult because RAs’ work is so irregular. One week there were a whole lot of hours and the next week they work few hours. So it would be hard to compensate them that way,” he said.

The stipend given to RAs last year was $102.50 bi-weekly. Instead, they will recieve a 14 swipe-per-week meal plan, which also includes 100 dining dollars. According to Bertsos, this adds an extra benefit for RAs and their residents.

For first year RA Andrea McNeal, the new meal plan combined with room and board is a huge money saver.

McNeal said, “The free housing and free meal plan is really enough for me. It helps me out a lot because before I was offered this job, I was at a loss as to how I was going to be able to pay for school this semester,” McNeal said.

Head RA for College Park Community Lukas Wenrick, a junior, also voiced his opinion.

“At [the old] rate, I would make roughly $720 over the 16 week semester,” Wenrick said. “With the dining compensation, we are receiving a dining plan worth $1695 per semester. While being able to spend my paycheck on other things is useful, the new compensation saves me an outrageous amount of money.”

However, for second year RA Travis Sollars, who does not support the Wright State food service Chartwells, the meal plan is a problem.

“I am not in favor of the changes made to the compensation package because, in using my meal plan, I am forced to support Chartwells,” Sollars said.

According to former Wright State RA Emily Redd, the switch to a meal plan allows RAs to eat healthier and make smarter textbook purchases.

“The stipend allowed students to only spend money on campus or at the off-campus restaurants that were included. While a lot of us used the stipend to buy our textbooks, it forced us to pay full price at the bookstore. Providing the meal plan ensures that the students are eating healthier. Also, students can now have the choice to order their textbooks online at a discounted price,” she said.

Student involvement is also promoted, according to Redd.

“A lot of students never spent time on campus except to go to class or sleep. Providing the meal plan would promote student involvement,” Redd said.

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