Be classy: Go to class

Jonathan Glover, Staff Reporter

Have you ever heard the saying, “what’s mine is mine and yours is yours?” As a college student, you should make yourself familiar with it. You see, the distinction of yours and mine is becoming increasingly arbitrary as student loan rates reach all time highs.

According to, 40 million Americans now have some sort of student loan debt. That’s roughly 13 percent. If you consider that a large portion of the U.S. population is either too young to go to college, or has already graduated, you can start to picture a startling image.

Found within the same article, of the 40 million who have student loan debt, the average balance has increased from $23,000 to $29,000 since 2008. That’s an average of $1,000 a year. I’m no mathematician, but I bet if you compared this rise to the tuition increases over the last six years, you may find a link.

All of this ultimately begs the question: why the fuck don’t people go to class?

Let’s take Central, for example. Central had an average tuition (including student fees) of $7,500 per student for 2013. This doesn’t take into account books, cost of living, food etc., just plain ol’ tuition.

If a student were to go to Central for all four years of their undergraduate career, they would spend $30,000 on tuition alone, assuming of course that tuition isn’t raised or lowered within that span of time. Keep in mind, Central is one of the cheapest universities in Washington State.

Plenty of students have parents that make decent money, enough to cover part of the cost. But they can’t cover everything. This is where grants, scholarships and the like come into play. Blah blah blah, boring, I know.

The thing is, even if students end up borrowing half of that amount in student loans, they’re still going to end up owing roughly $15,000 to cover the price of tuition alone. Yikes.

So college is expensive, and you knew that. But what’s my point? My point is, when you break down the cost of college as a whole even further, you start to notice the little things that people take for granted, like the cost of classes, for example.

For Central undergrad students, 180 credits must be completed before they can graduate. Classes can range anywhere from one to five credits upon completion. Let’s assume, optimistically, that the average credit worth of classes is four.

That means a student at Central might take anywhere from 45 to 50 classes throughout their four years in college. If you divide the $30,000 in tuition by the class total for four years, you’ll get somewhere in the ballpark range of $670 a class. Sounds reasonable.

But if you go full “Inception” and go deeper, you can calculate the average cost of a class on a daily basis. If a class meets five days a week for a standard 10 week quarter without any days off, that’s $13 a class.

Now, $13 may not seem like a lot, but consider a 5-credit class that meets twice a week. If you miss one class, that amount shoots up to $34 a class. I happen to have a class that only meets twice a week and it’s embarrassing how many people don’t show up.

I couldn’t find any concrete analysis of the average amount of classes college students skip, but what I can offer is a personal anecdote. As I mentioned, one class in particular has an abysmal attendance record. If I had to motion a guess, I would say some students have maybe gone to half, maybe even less, of the class so far this quarter. Now that student is effectively paying $67 each time he goes to class.

If you consider that many students are going to skip classes throughout the entire year, the $16 here, $34 there starts to add up quickly. After an entire academic year, a student could very well have bought an iPad with all of the money they threw away, or 400 Butterfingers. Take your pick.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

I know, a guy who’s been dead for over 200 years hardly has the precedence to lecture you on how you spend money in college. But I haven’t been dead for 200 years, and by the way, I’m going to owe somewhere in the range of $18,000 by the time I graduate.

If I were the one skipping class, I would take this to heart. Don’t let mole hills become mountains.

In other words, go to class, asshole.