Everyday people go to work to make a living but it is not long before that paycheck goes toward paying a living expense. Whether they are working for currency or an exchange of services, this cycle has been around forever. For some people, this may mean working a minimum wage job and barely having enough, or not enough at all, to pay bills. Should “the system” really be this way? A great number of people that hold these jobs are students. Can we, students, really afford school while only getting paid minimum wage?

As of 2013, nearly 3.3 million workers are getting paid at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. That might seem to be a small number, but it is pretty gross when you look at the outcome. Someone who works full time at federal minimum wage for a year would have a gross income of $13,195. Totaling up federal, state, and Social Security taxes, it is an average of 15 percent of what theymake. That is a mere net income of  $11,215, which is below the poverty line.

College is not cheap, even if you are working full time. The cost for an in-state student to attend Tech is $11,394 per year, and this only takes tuition and mandatory fees into consideration. Include books, housing, and a meal plan, the cost rises significantly to $23,028. The fact is that most college students do not work full time. This makes it impossible to attend school without some sort of financial aid or contribution.

Two years ago Pres. Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Over these past two years, states across the nation have slowly increased the minimum wage requirements. Currently twenty-nine states have a minimum wage rate above the requirement.

While raising the minimum wage may not completely eradicate the problem of not being able to afford college, it helps narrow the amount that students would have to get from other sources. Not only does it help students, a raise in minimum wage is also a smart economic decision.

Almost 70 percent of our GDP comes from consumer spending. Raising the minimum wage would mean that employees take home more money. As a result, spending increases and money is put back into the economy. Companies see an increase in sales due to increased wages as a positive tool to help them grow.

People that oppose an increase in wages believe that it will cause lower employment rates. With companies paying their employees more, the business would only be able to sustain fewer workers. However, the spending of employees’ additional earnings raises demand and job growth.

In thirteen states that increased the minimum wage, the job growth outpaced those states that did not increase workers wages. So why not increase the minimum wage? It can only help.