Dakota State University students walking around campus

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Majors & Degrees

DSU students create SD Wage Calculator

April 1, 2015

A popular wage calculator launched by the S.D. Governor’s Office of Economic Development has direct ties to Dakota State University. Its creation was made possible by two DSU students, Chris Wahl and Jared Horack, along with faculty advisor Josh Stroschein.

The students designed the application to calculate the purchasing power of wages, after federal income tax, state income tax, and social security taxes are withheld. After-tax wages are then adjusted by a specific city/region’s cost of living to determine a user’s purchasing power. The calculator allows users to compare job offers to see which job really pays the best. It is the only calculator that takes taxes into account when comparing real wages in different cities and states.

The students started the work in the spring semester of 2014, using the initial excel spread sheet that existed and began to transfer the information into a website. They made sure the website was mobile responsive so that users could easily access the information on any mobile or tablet device.

The SD Real Wage Calculator was featured in the SF Business Journal with Pat Costello, commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development speaking about the collaboration between the GOED and DSU.

"Our first target audience on this is college kids, coming out of school and tech school grads, so we had a couple DSU students build this website totally on their own and I think that's a great story in and of itself," Costello said. "We were very impressed with the students."

The website can be found at: http://calculaterealwages.com/