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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Resident assistants compensated differently across Florida

<p>Second-year resident assistant Tyler McCann hangs fliers around his dorm area to alert residents of his spring semester housing meeting.</p>

Second-year resident assistant Tyler McCann hangs fliers around his dorm area to alert residents of his spring semester housing meeting.

Students are settling into their dorms this week, and UF's resident assistants are back on the job.

Some RAs make more than others at Florida public universities, where compensation ranges from free housing to about $2,500 for a semester.

At UF, RAs receive a semester stipend that ranges from $1,404 to $3,096, said Lisa Diekow, director of Housing for Residence Life and Education. The amount depends on how many semesters of experience the RAs have and the number of residents they supervise.

Those in their second year who manage more than 25 residents receive $2,952 a semester. RAs with 25 or fewer students receive a smaller stipend, but almost all of the 183 RAs supervise 26 to 65 students, said Scott Francis, associate director of Housing for Residence Life and Education.

RAs also receive a $300 dining credit each semester, and "when occupancy allows," Diekow said, they live in a single room and pay the double-room rate, which varies among the residence halls.

One former RA said he thought RAs are undercompensated.

"To be the person they want you to be, they don't give you what you deserve," said Camilo Buscaron, 22, computer engineering senior.

He said that student athletes and graduate teaching assistants receive help with tuition and suggested the housing department help RAs in the same way.

At FSU, RAs are paid $7.92 an hour for about 20 hours of work each week, which totals about $2,500 a semester, said Stacie Kurlick, the assistant director of University Housing at FSU.

RAs get $300 in dining credit and pay the double-room rate for a single room, just like at UF. However, they also receive a 50 percent discount on housing. The value of the discount ranges from about $1,000 to about $1,500.

Kurlick said RAs at FSU also get a 10 percent bookstore discount.

At UCF, RAs are compensated for 15 hours a week at $7.31 an hour, about $1,700 a semester. They also receive a 70 to 80 percent discount on housing.

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At the main USF campus in Tampa, RAs receive free housing and a meal plan with 13 meals a week, according to the USF housing

At USF's St. Petersburg campus, RAs receive about $2,600 a semester and a 50 percent discount on housing, said Heather Klisanin, the assistant director of Residential Education and Housing at USF's St. Petersburg campus.

At UF, the budget for the housing department comes from rent, Francis said, and the last time RA compensation changed was the 2010 spring semester, when stipends increased by $180.

Devin Donohue, a UF alumnus, said he became an RA so he could make his hall more than a place students sleep.

"Kids who are RAs are not doing it for the compensation," said Donohue, 23.

Second-year resident assistant Tyler McCann hangs fliers around his dorm area to alert residents of his spring semester housing meeting.

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