The Ten-Step Guide to College Financial Aid By Zachary Freeman

I’ll Be There Unless I’m Dead

By Zachary Freeman

Students are elated when they discover that they can choose when to go to class.  In fact, most classes don’t take attendance whatsoever, leaving students with the full decision of whether they want to go to class or take a nap.  My history class last semester was rarely more than half full, but aside from the toll that skipping takes on one’s grades, I think you’ll be surprised to find out how much money you – or your parents – forfeit to skip just one class.

According to CollegeBoard, the average tuition at an in-state, public university is $3,803 per semester.  Meaning that, for an average student with an average class load – we’ll call him “Skip”, for obvious reasons – the cost of learning from a professor is about 45 cents per minute.  Skipping just one class, one day costs Skip almost $34.  Ouch!

But, let’s say that Skip comes down with a cold and misses all of his classes for the day.  Unfortunately, this happens, and it can’t really be completely avoided; but, aside from Mom and Dad being dreadfully worried about Skip’s health, they themselves become sick to find out that they lost almost $135 because of Skip’s one day of missing class.  Think of all the stuff that much money can buy!

Let’s just say that Skip wants to go out-of-state to escape the wrath of his parents, where the average tuition is $5,995 per semester.  Assuming he keeps the same full-load class schedule that he would have had in-state, it now costs a whopping 71 cents per minute to listen (or not listen) to a professor.  Skipping one class costs him almost $54.  Now that he took a tuition hike, one sick day puts him $214 in the hole.  Heck, for that much money, I would suffer through class vomiting my brains out!

But wait, someone has decided that Skip needs an elite private education so that he can be rich and successful one day.  The average private university education costs $13,647 per semester, meaning that Skip pays an astounding $1.62 per minute to go to class.  Each seventy-five minute learning session costs him $122.  Every sick day costs him $488.  Say that skip gets pneumonia and misses a week of class; his illness costs Skip, or his parents, nearly $1,000.  Gone.  Forever.  And with nothing to show for it.

Why do I feel that it’s so important that people hear this message?  Two reasons: first, although college may be helpful for success, paying more for an undergraduate education is unnecessary, expensive, and risky.  Second, students, you should think twice before skipping a class because it costs someone a lot of money.  At a hundred and thirty five bucks a day, the only thing keeping me from going to class is my own death.


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