Peer Ministry for Campus Ministry Partner Congregations [Part 11 of 11]
Most campus ministries have some compensation for their student peer ministers. Most nonresident peer ministry programs have monetary compensation: either hourly wage, term stipend or study stipend. (3) Most resident peer ministry programs offer a reduced rent for students. If cash stipends are paid to students, it is important to abide by federal and state Internal Revenue Service codes. It will likely fall on the treasurer or secretary/bookkeeper of the ministry to file quarterly and annually.
Our ministry at Southwest State University, Marshall, MN, has four student ministry positions. Three positions are funded at $1,000 per academic year. We are on a semester system. At the beginning of each semester, when new students are contacted and programs initiated, the student peers are expected to work about eight to ten hours. As the semester progresses, the hours are reduced to five or six, with a minimum of four hours per week during mid terms and finals. Total hours are determined by the state minimum wage and the funds available. This flexible scheduling works well for us, and respects the primary calling of the peer minister to be a student.
It is common for students to work more than twenty hours a week to pay for expenses. Our student peers usually carry two jobs to make ends meet. This means that sufficient fiscal resources must be available to pay students well. Minimum wage laws must be observed.
Minimum costs for the student peer ministry program are about $500.00 per student minister. This will include training, wages, state and federal taxes and workers' compensation. Not included in this figure is the expense of a supervisor for the program.
(3) Some sites have considered working out relationships with academic programs on their campus in order that the students might receive academic credit for their ministry learning. Such a program justifies the stipend and may eliminate certain IRS responsibilities.