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Morehead: Pay Raises Coming for UGA Employees

The University of Georgia will raise its lowest-paid employees’ salaries by $500, administrators said today.

UGA’s minimum salary for fiscal 2015, which starts July 1, will be $22,750, up from the current $22,250, Vice President for Finance Ryan Nesbitt told reporters this morning.

Living-wage advocates have been pressuring UGA for years to raise wages, saying that custodians, cooks and groundskeepers’ low pay depressed wages for other workers in Athens. The university did so for several years but stopped in 2009, after the recession hit and budget cuts started. No UGA employees have gotten raises in five years. 

Gov. Nathan Deal included money for 1 percent merit-based raises in his 2015 budget. In addition, the Board of Regents raised tuition by 7 percent for the coming school year.

Full professors rank last among UGA’s peer institutions in salary, associate professors are 11th of 13 and assistant professors are fifth, according to a recent analysis of American Association of University Professors data.

UGA President Jere Morehead told reporters at a press conference this morning that raising faculty salaries up to peer institutions’ standards will be a lengthy process.

“I think you’ll see some progress this year, but there’s also a big gap to close,” he said. “It’ll take a series of pay raises over a period of years to close that gap and stay competitive.”

As for the tuition hike, Morehead said UGA has been “very aggressive” in keeping costs down, for example by freezing housing, dining plan, parking, transportation and health fees for the coming school year.