Playing hooky with your future: The costs of skipping college class


Ashu Ebot-Tabi, Reporter

High school seniors on the cusp of graduation will recant much of the commonalities of high schoolers, though admittedly in a pleasurable manner: no longer needing to wake up before the crack of dawn, abandoning the rigid class structures, drama existing in the past, and far, far more than this article can list. More often than not, however, kids mainly anticipate the independence that comes with college, as most of the previously listed grievances either do not exist or exist in such minimal concentrations that they might as well be non-existent. More often than not, these students flaunt their autonomy by taking more unorthodox classes & moving out from their parents’ homes.

Still, as with most everything when granted in excess, the freedom of college can, at times, overwhelm the student: bills to pay, no parents to coddle a student, and the balance between school and social life becomes a line ever more difficult to walk. However, the lack of structure truly clinches this potential stress: unlike in secondary school, class skipping in college comes without consequence; however, the cost of doing so, and the price needed to make it up, certainly serve as dire consequences.

For the most part, the drawbacks of skipping college classes tend to generate two negative impacts: grades and one’s future. All of those categories can lead to a negative college experience overall , especially the latter; however, the debatably biggest drawback comes down to one word: money.

College, by virtue of all the needed materials, administrative oversight, and per student spending, costs a lot of money. Taking this into account, a student should want the most out of their time and money invested in school; however, college age kids nationwide seem to believe that skipping does come without penalty, as USA Today reported that in 2015, the average college student will skip 240 classes during their time there. One must also address the topic of money: while college tuition seems limited exclusively to the aforementioned materials (textbooks, laptops) and meal plans, classes cost money to attend: $30 in a public university and $104 in a private. Multiplying the number of classes skipping with costs comes in at $7,200 and $24,960 wasted at the average public and private university, respectively.

Either number on its own would seem daunting, but to put it in perspective: the College Board estimated that the average price for a four year public school (during the 2017-18 year) cost $9,410 without financial aid, and $3,980 with. That means that the money wasted by skipping class could…

  1. Pay for public school with financial in state tuitions once with $3,220 leftover, using wasted public school money.
  2. Cover more than two-thirds of public school without aid, and only $2,210 remaining, using wasted public school money.
  3. Cover for the cost of public school with aid six times over, using wasted private school money.
  4. Cover for the cost of public school without aid two times over, using wasted private school money.

One possible rationale for skipping class deals with the fact that doing so provides a relief of the stress schools brings, one that holds merit; however, by this logic, would not missing content reviewed in class provide stress? What about the potential study time wasted by goofing off? How about not asking a professor an important question after class; why not consider that a stressor? Quite frankly, college brings about stress, regardless of whether or not you attend class; the severity of that stress, however, does depend on your attendance.

In all truth, common reasons for skipping class do deserve justification: not everyone wants to wake up at the crack of dawn just to slog through four monotonous lectures for almost a third of the day. Plus, a break every now and then can help alleviate the pressure of the day; however, the drawbacks of doing that also deserve attention. If any student who even occasionally skipped class, knew the literal cost of his actions, that would stress him even more so than a unit quiz or project. As for solutions, college students should try always to attend class, and only skip in instances like a doctor’s appointment or family tragedy; that way, any money wasted occurs in a justifiable situation.