What skipping a class really costs you - The Shorthorn : People And Interests

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What skipping a class really costs you

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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:13 am | Updated: 10:32 am, Thu Sep 13, 2012.

English language freshman Anthony Arredondo skipped 87 days of his senior year of high school, he said.

The reason? The classes were too slow, and he was ahead, he said.

“I had this one teacher, my economics teacher. I wouldn’t pay attention in her class, so she gave me the option to either go to the principal’s office or stay out of class and only come on test days. So, I took her up on it,” he said.

Now, three weeks into his first college semester, he’s skipped his first class – a morning statistics lecture.

“I was going to sleep in the class anyway, but I didn’t want to insult the teacher, so I just slept at home,” he said.

According to a study released in May conducted by the Student Scholarship Search, a company that serves to give students daily scholarship updates across a wide variety of requirements, the average college student skips 13 classes per semester. If Arredondo skipped class 13 times this semester, it could equal out to about $335 or $480, depending on the days of the week he skipped.

The study showed the average cost of tuition and fees at a public school for an hour-long class, assuming the semester is 15 weeks long and the student is going to school 15 hours a week, this amount of classes skipped would equal $2,400.32 - $19.42 per hour-long class.

The average cost of tuition at UTA per a semester for a full-time (12 hours) student is $4,439, including student fees. If someone skipped a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class, that’s about $25.81 a day. If a UTA student missed a Tuesday and Thursday class, it would be about $36.99 a day.

When The Shorthorn asked students if they have ever looked at how much they lost per class per day, most said no.  

Criminal justice junior  Will Larsen said he has skipped about 20 classes since his college education began.

“It’s a problem,” he said. “It’s laziness, sleeping and I’d rather be drinking,”

He said he’s already skipped class once this semester, which equates to about $111.

“That’s a lot of money,” he said. “If I was paying for my tuition, I’d definitely be saving up.”

Kinesiology sophomore Madison Munson has only skipped class twice. She said her parents are paying for her tuition.

“One was history in my second semester of my freshman year, and that’s because I slept in,” she said. “The other was in chemistry, the last day for my freshman year, and it was just review; and I kind of wanted to study on my own.”

John Moen, Munson’s friend and international business sophomore, said he’s heard plenty of students say they’ve skipped easier classes to focus on the harder ones. He said he’s even done it himself. 

“Yes, attendance is highly recommended,” he said. “It’s worth sacrificing sometimes so you can get the better grade in one class when you know you’re going to get an A in the other.”

Both have skipped a three-days-a-week course, they said, but their outlook isn’t cost per day.

“I feel like the money is for the letter [grade] at the end of the semester,” Munson said. “I actually see it as cost per exam.”

“I agree with that,” Moen joined in. “I understand how much you pay for class, it is expensive for sure, but that’s not going through everyone’s mind. If I know I can still make that grade, it’s not as bad, you know?”

According to the study’s top three reasons why college students skip, 55 percent of students skip because they don’t want to get out of bed, 20 percent wanted to enjoy the weather and 12 percent felt social time took precedence. The other 13 percent included being hungover, sexual activity and watching TV. 

Sociology professor Beth Anne Shelton said she doesn’t have an attendance policy in her class, but she said she does cover material in class that will make students miss something if they don’t attend. 

“You’re an adult, it’s up to you,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea skip. It is expensive to skip. You calculate what you pay for an average course, and that’s about $1,000. So I definitely wouldn’t throw that money on the ground. At the same time, I don’t skip. I don’t cancel class. The students are paying for it. It’s a two-way street.”

For Moen and Munson, they saw the cost of skipping hit more than wallets last year.

“We have a friend who skipped a lot last year, and she’s not here any more,” Munson said. “I think that college differentiates the people who want to go to college for learning and the people who decide it’s not for them.”

Those who skip class constantly, according to the study, are three times more likely to be unemployed afterward and two times more likely to be living at home with parents.

UTA does not keep a cumulative record of attendance, said UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan. She said the university leaves the record keeping of attendance up to its faculty members. 

“The true cost of skipping is if you don’t go to class, then you risk failing that class,” Sullivan said. “And if you fail that class, then you have to take it again, and that means you don’t get out on time.”

As for Arredondo, he said he doesn’t want to make it a habit again.

“If your teacher gives you enough resources and you feel you can cover the material, then it’s OK to skip every once in a while,” he said. “But if the tests are based off lectures, you better go to class.”

@Shelly_MarieW

shelly.williams@mavs.uta.edu

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