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A new student staff pay and structure for 2020-21

For autumn quarter 2020, we will move to a student staffing model with two titles (RA and ETA) and common compensation.

This message was emailed to all resident fellows and student staff. 

Dear Resident Fellows and student staff,

We are thrilled to announce that we will introduce a new student staff pay and structure in 2020-21. This will bring a greater degree of clarity and equity to our residential system.  Students, student staff and Resident Fellows have requested that pay be equalized and student staff responsibilities be fairly distributed for years.  These requests were solidified in the findings of the ResX Task Force and subsequently validated and reinforced by ResX implementation teams.  We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the many of you who have been working to improve our residential system.  

Here is a quick summary of what you can expect.

  • For autumn quarter 2020, we will move to a student staffing model with two titles (RA and ETA) and common compensation.  In addition, there will be specific RA roles on the Row devoted to the operational duties of running a Row house.

  • We have identified $2.3 million in additional, on-going funding to support the ResX finding that student staff pay should be equalized.

  • All student staff will be paid $11,400 next year. This means an important increase for many roles but a decrease of $925 for the RA role.

  • We are increasing the overall number of student staff from 496 to 508 positions to meet staffing ratios recommended by ResX implementation teams.

  • We would like to send a special thanks to professional and student staff serving on the implementation teams.

  • We are still working our way through the training recommendations and will share more information later this quarter.

Many offices campuswide collaborated to fund the student staff pay increase.

Since receiving the implementation team recommendations, we have been working intensively to identify funding sources to support this new model. As we acknowledged in our previous email, the on-going cost of raising the pay for 250 of our 500 student staff is substantial.  If we had not been able to identify additional funding sources, we would have had to move all student staff to $8,500, which did not appropriately align with the work and responsibility included in the roles.

We are gratified to have identified $2,281,000 in additional annual funding to support this change. This support was provided with help from the Provost and by campus partners including the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Vaden Health Center and Residential & Dining Enterprises. In addition, we devoted funds that were to be used for a professional staff position in ResEd to student staff instead. Additional funding was provided by the Senior Vice Provost for Education.

We are deeply grateful for the partnership shown by the Provost and many of our colleagues.  This support continues to demonstrate the university’s commitment to the importance of student staff in the residences. 

Even with this level of funding, we needed to make a difficult decision.

Should we maintain the current total number of student staff position, or maintain current-year staff stipend rates? The new funding, though generous, would not allow us to do both. Maintaining current staff stipends ($12,325) would require eliminating approximately 40 student staff positions.  Alternatively, we could sustain current staffing levels and divide the work over more people for slightly less pay. 

Given the recommendations of the implementation team and the feedback received from students and RFs, we made the decision to hire more student staff for a stipend that is about $925 less than the current RA stipend.  This means all residence student staff will receive a stipend of $11,400. 

It is our hope that greater equity in pay and workload among all student staff members will yield greater support for all students and a more manageable workload for student staff. 

Here are more details about how this will work in general.

  • We will be moving all student staff positions to RA and ETA roles in Autumn Quarter 2020.  On the Row, this will look like RA (community), RA (finance), RA (kitchen) and RA (house oversight – co-op).  ResEd will be sharing role descriptions and reaching out to RFs and student staffs to look at how this will apply in each house.

  • While the ResX report recommended a 1:15 RA-to-student ratio in houses with frosh and a 1:25 RA-to-student ratio in upperclass houses, we are seeking to promote student well-being by making an upward adjustment.  We will support a 1:15 RA-to-student ratio in houses with frosh and a 1:20 RA-to-student ratio in upperclass houses.  In addition, each Row house will have even smaller student-to-staff ratios.  Each Row house will sustain its current number of staff to ensure that students have the support they need.

  • While all of our houses will now include student staff who are equally compensated, we needed to ensure that student staff are equitably distributed across our RF houses.  Some houses have staff to student-staff ratios higher than those proposed; others have a much lower ratio than what is recommended.  We have worked with houses individually to address the redistribution of student staff to ensure equity in of all students.

Here’s how this will work for Academic Theme Houses and Ethnic Theme Houses.

  • Academic Theme Houses:

    • As stated earlier, Row houses will sustain the same student staff numbers, including academic theme houses.  It is our hope that sustaining the same staffing numbers in Row houses will allow the continuation of support for the theme houses that currently have ATAs.

    • RF Academic Theme Houses will receive one additional staff member (beyond what is provided by the ratios) to help manage the theme program.

    • Crothers Global Citizenship is the only current RF house with ATAs.  They are being granted a one-year deferral for shifting these ATA roles.  This one-year exception is being granted because this is a unique and small program (approximately 60 students) housed within the larger structure of Crothers House (approximately 380 students).  It will take some time to determine how to run this program within the larger house structure with all RA roles. The ATA roles in Crothers will become RA roles in autumn 2021.

  • Ethnic Theme Houses:

    • The ETA student staff are not considered in the ratios as this additional student staffing is critical for ethnic theme houses.

    • With the 1:15 ratio, we would need to reduce Casa Zapata by one student staff member.  Given the importance of ethnic theme dorms to our community and the support they provide to our students, we do not believe it is prudent to reduce the student staffing at Casa Zapata and will be sustaining Casa Zapata at its current staffing level. 

Thank you for helping us implement these changes.

We want to be clear that this level of change will inevitably bring unanticipated challenges. These may include changes in how we think about roles, changes in how we train, and changes in how we run our houses. With this much change, it will take time to adjust and fine-tune the many working parts of the system.  It will be important to continue to regularly assess how the new system is working and make adjustments as needed.  If you have thoughts and/or feedback, please email Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Education Cheryl Brown (

The implementation teams will also make recommendations on student staff training.  We, in collaboration with ResEd, are still considering these recommendations and look forward to being in touch with you on this topic in the coming months.  We imagine that it will take a few years to fully realize long-term changes in how we train student staff.  We look forward to seeing the training improve year after year.

We look forward to working with you as we take these first steps toward implementing the larger ResX vision.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Harry Elam
Senior Vice Provost for Education

Tim Warner
Vice Provost for Budget and Auxiliaries Management