Alexis Grant - The Penny Hoarder


How would you feel about bringing home an annual salary of $70,000?

That’s the new minimum wage for employees of Gravity Payments, a credit-card payment processing company that just moved to the top of our gotta-work-there list.

The company’s CEO Dan Price announced Monday he’s raising the salary of each of his employees to $70,000 a year, The New York Times reported. That applies to every one of the company’s 120 workers, for whom the average salary is about $48,000. About 30 employees will see their salaries double, and 70 will see an increase, the NYT notes.

Um, can you say CEO of the year? Turns out Price was named 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur magazine.

Why Is Gravity Payments Offering Such Impressive Salaries?

The change will go into effect over the next three years, and Price plans to pay for it by cutting his $1 million salary to $70,000 and reallocating the majority of the $2.2 million in profit the company expects to earn this year, according to the NYT piece.

“We need more of these CEO’s. #props,” a Twitter user wrote after reading the news.

While some people say Price is pulling a publicity stunt -- a expensive one, but it’s effective! -- the CEO says he made the decision because of research he read on how happiness relates to income. Princeton University researchers concluded money can make a difference in how happy you are, but only up to a certain point: $70,000.

This salary threshold is way beyond the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which works out to about $15,000 a year. (The poverty level for a family of four, by the way, is $23,850.)

Is Gravity Payments Hiring?

Now for the big question: how can you get in on this goodness if you don’t already work at the company?

Gravity Payments is hiring! Their careers page details job openings for sales representatives, as well customer-service positions called Support Representatives.

While the company’s based in Seattle, these jobs are available in a number of cities in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Oklahoma.

In addition to the new minimum salary, plus benefits, Gravity Payments offers unlimited vacation time after one year, according to its career page. The company gets solid reviews on Glassdoor, with employees saying it’s challenging but rewarding to work there.

In the words of Price, as quoted by the New York Times, “Is anyone else freaking out right now?”

Want more details? Read the full story, including how Price started the company as a 19-year-old college student, at The New York Times.

Your Turn: Would you consider applying for a position with Gravity Payments? What would an annual salary of $70,000 mean to you?

We’ve written about lots of ways to pay for college, from selling your friendship to buying and reselling textbooks. And we’ve offered dozens of ideas for college scholarships, from essay contests to merit awards to funds for outrageously esoteric specialties like horticulture and Scandinavian literature.

But here’s a new place to seek money for college that we never expected: Cards Against Humanity.

Yes, we’re talking about that fill-in-the-blank card game for adults that’s so inappropriate you and your friends can’t stop laughing… or playing, even when it’s past midnight on a weeknight. The company recently released a Science Pack -- additional cards you can add to the set you already have -- and all proceeds from each $10 sale go toward a new Cards Against Humanity Science Ambassador Scholarship.

Who’s Eligible for the Science Scholarship?

As the name implies, these funds are earmarked for a student seeking an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. It’s only open to women, with the goal of helping more women -- who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM -- pursue careers in science.

You can’t apply just yet, but you can sign up for a notification when the application period opens: simply add your email address at ScienceAmbassadorScholarship.org.

The first scholarship will be awarded to one student for the fall 2016 school year. In subsequent years, the company is hoping to offer it to several students. “The science pack is doing really well, and we’re excited to probably open it up to more scholarships after this year,” said Jenn Bane, community manager for Cards Against Humanity.

The scholarship winner will receive full tuition coverage for up to four years to the university of her choice, regardless of cost. “We operated under the assumption that this person would be going to the most expensive school,” Bane said.

While the 2016 scholarship is only open to U.S. residents in high school or college, Bane said they’re hoping to widen the pool of applicants by making it available outside of the U.S. the following year.


How Scholarship Applications Will Be Judged

Scholarship applications will be reviewed by a board of about 40 women who work professionally in science, including representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, the Smithsonian Institution, the Adler Planetarium, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as TED, NSF, Huxley and Hubble fellows, the company said in a press release.

This isn’t the first time Cards Against Humanity has used its fame for good. The company has raised nearly $2 million for nonprofits like the Sunlight Foundation and DonorsChoose.org, and funded thousands of teacher projects in high-poverty classrooms across the United States.

Maybe that will make you feel a little better about yourself next time you find yourself shouting out a completely tasteless phrase while playing the game...

Your Turn: Will you apply for Cards Against Humanity’s science scholarship for women? Or maybe recommend the scholarship to a student?

Want more scholarship opportunities? Check out our list of 100 Awesome Scholarships That Will Help You Pay for College.