The University Daily Kansan published an interesting little math project today: How much tuition money are KU students throwing out the window if they skip class?
The newspaper crunched some numbers to figure out how much students are paying per individual lecture or class meeting, and therefore how high the "cost" is for skipping a day's worth of class at a time when higher education has never been more expensive.
A first-time freshman paying in-state tuition this year is throwing away about $18.30 if she skips a class that meets three times a week, the Kansan calculated, or about $27.40 if it's a class that meets twice a week. For out-of-state first-year freshmen this year, the cost is steeper: $47.60 per class session if it meets three times a week, or $71.40 if it meets twice a week.
(Those numbers have to be specified for first-time freshmen because of KU's Four-Year Tuition Compact, which locks students in at a steady tuition rate set before their freshman year. For, say, a senior, the cost per class would be a bit lower, because students who started at KU in fall 2009 when tuition was lower are still paying a lower rate now.)
Some KU schools, including business and journalism, charge higher tuition rates, making those courses more costly to skip.
And, of course, tuition is far from the only college expense. Students are also paying for room and board, fees, books and more.
You could probably have an interesting philosophical discussion about what students are really paying for when they pay tuition — are they paying for the time spent in class, or more for the knowledge and skills they gain from the whole experience, or really more for the credit they receive at the end, if they're a bit more cynical? But whatever the case, the math is interesting to think about.
You know, something that definitely doesn't cost you anything is sending your KU news tips to us. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, but not during class. (Unless your instructor has assigned you to do so, in which case: Bravo, instructor!)