Skipping class costs you

By on February 13, 2013

By Wes Kerrick–

Photo courtesy of Sidewalk Flying/Flickr

Imagine opening your eyes on a rainy morning, loathing the mocking sound of your alarm clock. It’s 8 a.m. and you have a class at nine. But so little sleep has happened since you crashed from yesterday. Frustrated, you roll over and drift to sleep again. Forget class.

Sound familiar?

Next time you feel like ducking class, think about this: for a full-time student, each class meeting costs roughly $31.25, and somebody’s paying for that.

I learned this lesson the hard way, after my freshman and sophomore years at a private university in Tennessee. My scholarship had covered only my first year; a gift from family had covered the second. I had neither grasped nor valued the enormous investment that others had placed in me. My class attendance had been shoddy. Now I was out of money.

It’s taken three years and a lot of work to get to U of L. Now that I’ve learned just how hard one must work to earn the tiniest drop in the tuition bucket, my pattern of showing up for class is nearly perfect. Let me explain why yours should be the same.

As you likely know, U of L in-state, full-time tuition and fees amount to $5,156 per semester. To break that down, let’s assume my 15-hour class schedule is pretty typical. Based on my course syllabuses, I have a total of 165 class meetings. So $5,156 divided by 165 class meetings is $31.25 per class meeting.

Perhaps you are here on a scholarship, either from U of L or an outside foundation. Perhaps your parents or grandparents paid your tuition. Perhaps Uncle Sam is picking up the tab for you, or you’re the recipient of a gift from Frankfort. Maybe you’ve taken out a loan. Or maybe you just paid the bill yourself. However you got here, somebody’s paying for it. Somebody’s paying $31.25 per class meeting.

What else could you do with $31.25? You could buy a new shirt, take your boyfriend or girlfriend out for a modest dinner, or pick up about 10 Happy Meals. Or, with a few more bucks, you could sponsor a child in an impoverished country. But you’re here, and that means you’ve decided to spend that money on your education, as have I. We made that decision because we’ve seen the value of education in today’s professional environment.

So then, the real choice is whether or not you’ll get what you’ve paid for. It’s 8 a.m., and you have class at nine. Will you go? It’s a decision only you can make.

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