Tulane University to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour

As part of its commitment to support income growth and greater equity and economic well-being in the community, Tulane University has announced that it will increase its minimum wage for all staff to $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1.

Tulane currently employs more than 5,600 people. The change in minimum compensation, from the current rate of $10.82 per hour, will put the university’s minimum wage at more than double the federal and state minimum.

“As an academic leader in the nation and New Orleans’ largest private employer, it’s our responsibility to review and improve compensation packages to attract, hire, develop and retain the most talented professionals in the widest array of fields,” said Tulane President Michael A. Fitts. “Tulane’s staff is absolutely essential to every success we have experienced as an institution, especially during these challenging times.”

Patrick Norton, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Tulane, noted the importance of increasing the minimum wage both to Tulane staff members and to the New Orleans community as a whole.

“By raising our minimum wage, Tulane University will help support broad-based income growth within our community and provide a foundation for greater equity and economic well-being for our staff and their families,” Norton said. “I can’t imagine a staff more deserving of this increase in compensation.” 

Tulane’s commitment to improving workforce compensation will also extend to outside contractors. In evaluating the renewal of contracts with service providers or the selection of new ones, the university will give special consideration to those that pay a $15 per hour minimum wage or who have a documented plan within a reasonable timeframe to achieve that rate.

“Competitive pay and generous benefits are some of the ways we honor the essential role our staff plays in maintaining and growing our stature as one of the nation’s leading research universities,” said Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. 

Tulane will also standardize student wages across the university by raising the minimum hourly rate to $10 per hour from $7.25 per hour, effective Oct. 1. 

With campuses in uptown and downtown New Orleans, as well as the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, the university’s annual operations generate almost 14,000 jobs in the New Orleans area alone and attract $312 million in spending by visiting parents, alumni, patients and potential students, according to a 2019 economic impact report by Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions. Overall, the university has a $3.14 billion impact on the Louisiana economy each year, according to the report.

“Through the dedication and commitment of our staff, we will continue to be a truly distinctive and impactful academic community, one that improves the lives of its neighbors both here and around the globe through teaching, discovery and service,” Fitts said.