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UI students vie for RA spots

BY KRISTIN LUTZ | JANUARY 25, 2010 7:30 AM

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Jan Suceska always admired his resident assistant.

So this year, the UI freshman decided to apply for the position — both to be a good mentor to other students and to bring in some extra dough.

“I thought my RA was cool … opposed to the stereotype of them being too strict,” said Suceska, who admitted the salary and benefits were an important factor in his decision to apply for the job. “I’m just trying to help my parents out make it easier for them [financially].”

Suceska was one of around 300 UI students who underwent the competitive interview process over this past weekend, vying for 60 to 70 spots as resident assistants and several thousand dollars of income.

Despite massive budget cuts at the UI, University Housing officials said resident assistants won’t be cut.

The sentiment fits with UI officials’ ramped-up retention efforts recently, many of which focus on first-year campus life. Officials have announced the creation of four new living-learning communities, and they have plans to return Parklawn Apartments back into a dorm for second-, third-, and fourth-year students.

UI RAs receive a $5,000 stipend their first year for a 10-month employment period — in addition to free room and board and $100 worth of Hawk dollars per semester, Gregory Thompson, manager of UI Residence Life, wrote in an e-mail.

If an RA decides to return the following year, he or she will be paid an additional $100 per year. For example, a second-year RA would make $5,100, Thompson said.

The UI has 130 RAs on campus, including community assistants, who live in university apartments.
Applicants must have completed 30 college semester hours and hold a 2.5 overall GPA.

Statewide, resident assistants at regent universities don’t receive the same pay at the UI’s, but they earn similar benefit packages.

The University of Northern Iowa’s 88 resident assistants receive a $1,200 stipend for an academic year or $600 for a semester, said Lyn Redington UNI’s director of Residence Life.

Iowa State University’s resident assistants receive a $180 stipend four times each semester, or $720 per semester, according to university’s website.

The difference in pay between the institutions is determined by the university’s resident assistants unique roles.

“Institutions determine what compensation best fits the requirements of their individual RA jobs and then judge what level of compensation is needed to obtain the highest quality candidates they can find for their RA position,” Thompson said.

UI applicants spent Jan. 23 in Stanley Hall participating in group activities that monitored communication skills, their ability to facilitate in a group, and other qualifications needed to become a UI resident assistant.

This week, the applicants will wait to hear the housing administrators’ selections.

“I’m feeling nervous and anxious while I am waiting for my letter, but also confident because I feel like the interview process went well for me,” Suceska said.


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