July 29th, 2011

Ditching Class: How Much Money Are You Throwing Away?

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**It’s Back to School Week here on the Credit Karma blog! Each day we’ll bring you a post all about getting ready to go back to school and helping your kids learn in the process.**

back to school

Cup of coffee = $3
Textbook = $75
Laptop for taking notes = $1,000
Missing 8am class to sleep in = Priceless

Or is it?

It’s an undeniable college right to skip class at your convenience, or so I thought. Without attendance rules and thanks to a classmate’s notes, you can miss a few lectures and still pass the class. And it always felt worth it– the freedom to sleep in, go out to brunch, and catch a trashy “Jersey Shore” marathon.

It was as if the universe was telling me, “Go ahead Justine, keep pressing ‘snooze.’ Live your life.”

Maybe I should’ve been listening to my wallet instead.

The true cost of Senioritis

While the impact on your grades may be negligible (at least for hard-core crammers out there), skipping class is essentially throwing money away.

Let’s take a look at the economics of my senioritis at UC Berkeley:

Tuition per semester = roughly $5,000
Cost of each class hour (given average load of 4 classes, 3 hours each per week for 15 weeks) = $27.78
Cost of skipping 8am class half the time = -$41.67 a week, or $625 a semester

That’s $600+ dollars essentially thrown away that semester for skipping class.

The above figures are calculated from tuition costs a few years ago. After repeated fee and tuition hikes, the price per semester to attend UC Berkeley, according to the school’s website, is now $6,680 a semester. Given the same senioritis model, skipping class today would be costing me $835 a semester.

That doesn’t include the cost of books, supplies and housing that’s part of the college package, which significantly skyrockets that cost. For out-of-state students or private university students, that tuition price tag is often three times as much.

Am I ranting about the exorbitant price of education today? Or lecturing about ditching class? Or is this just a confession that, no matter how hard I try, I am just not a morning person?

Really, this is a reality check.

For many things in life, whether that’s the stock market, your education, your career, even your romantic relationships, you invest something to get something in return. I ended up wasting a good chunk of my tuition money for just two extra hours of sleep.

To new college students and hard-working career folks alike, be aware that you’re always investing something. In your financial choices, remember to make smart investments or you’ll pay the cost and waste your time and money–or worse–your potential.

Start paying down that debt, saving up for that rainy day fund, contributing to your 401(k), or building your credit score. You can always take a nap later. Ditch the snooze button, get up and get going!

Keep up the Karma,

Justine Rivero, Credit Advisor

Do you think skipping class is a waste of money?

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. I like this article. It is a good tool to use with your college bound kid to teach them that ditching class has a price tag. (Whether the money comes from you, a grant, student loan, scholarship or from the college kid themselves.) Thanks for this informative posting.

    J.B. at 9:41 pm on July 30, 2011
  2. There’s a reason I don’t schedule 8am classes 🙂 this is quite the reality check. because I pay for all my schooling, I NEVER skip class unless I’m really, really sick. and even then I usually just pull on some sweatpants and catch a seat in the back of the classroom. thanks for this post, I can’t wait to forward it to friends.

    CreditShout at 12:04 pm on August 1, 2011
  3. Some people read the book and skip class. Some people go to class and don’t even buy the book. Some people do both things. And some people fail out. Other than the last one, it all comes down to how you learn best…and not deluding yourself about that.

    I learn best by reading the book. I learn the least by listening to someone explain things. There was more than one class that I didn’t go to more than the first week, the midterm and the final. And yet, every homework and reading assignment was done and I graduated with a 3.7ish GPA. I do warn that people get mad when they don’t even realize you’re in the class, you show up to the midterm and get the high score on a seriously hard test. If I could have taken all my classes as independent studies I would have!

    Slinky at 3:05 pm on September 1, 2011
  4. That’s why I never skip class. I don’t like when people do because someone, you or parents or government or scholarship money is used because your too lazy to get off your ass and get an education they many people will never opportunity to have? That’s downright selfish and disgusting.

    Ilya Borisov at 7:58 am on October 23, 2013

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