Purdue University plans to give one-time, $500 bonuses this spring to employees making less than $75,000 annually. President Mitch Daniels announced the initiative at the University Senate meeting Monday.
Daniels calls the bonus a “modest gesture” meant to thank staff for the work they do. He says that work allows the university to operate without raising tuition, which he announced will remain the same through the 2020-21 academic year. Tuition hasn’t gone up for Purdue students since 2012.
Senate Chair Natalie Carroll says she feels the bonus could make employees who have lower salaries feel appreciated.
“Because people have been working hard and feeling that this university hasn’t increased salaries maybe like some others, or tuition to pay, that this is a goodwill effort, that they aren’t being forgotten,” Carroll says.
The bonus will go to any employee under the salary limit who was working for Purdue as of the end of last year.
Purdue Senate member Alex Francis says while professors are often the face of the university, this bonus will go to staff who aren’t usually recognized for their work.
“Cleaning the whiteboards, emptying the trash, making the schedules, making sure students can get to class without falling on the ice,” Francis says. “All of these things are incredibly important.”
In addition, the university is creating a 2.5 percent merit raise pool for all West Lafayette faculty and staff again this year – the same as it’s been the last couple years.
That’s as the U.S. inflation rate for 2018 was 2. 44 percent – meaning those people earning a 2.5 percent raise are barely keeping pace with rising costs for food, housing and utilities.