Remember that morning you decided to sleep in? Or skip class to go skiing? For many of you, these questions may conjure up fond memories of a few skipped classes throughout your time at Colorado College. However, most don’t realize exactly how much those three hours cost.
The 2013-2014 academic year at CC saw a 6 percent increase in tuition to $43,812 (excluding room and board, which is an additional $10,312 if the student is living in a dorm with meal plan C). At this tuition rate, a single block costs about $5,476. That means each day of class costs $304, or just over $100 an hour.
According to Robert Moore, the college’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, the college incentivizes taking four blocks a semester by charging the same tuition for four blocks as for three.
“The idea is that we really want kids to graduate on time, and we really want to make sure they get an education,” said Moore. “Even if you are a senior and you don’t necessarily need the extra class, we encourage that kids take one.”
Moore also insists that most students take the cost of skipping class very seriously. “If you ignore the second semester of senior year, most people take school very seriously and choose to attend all classes,” he said.
Students take blocks off for various reasons, such as illness, mental health, or family emergency, or occasionally just to have a break from the classroom. Of course, these reasons lead to some missed class days during the school year as well. The flexibility of the Block Plan allows students to more easily take a month off from school. Despite these incentives, the finance office does not find students taking blocks off to be financially feasible.
“The school encourages taking time off with the winter start program and allowing students to defer a year after high school,” said Moore. “But economically speaking, it doesn’t make sense to have students taking blocks off here and there.”
Although three blocks in a semester costs the same as four, if a student takes one or two blocks in a semester they are charged $7,370 per block. This is a higher-per-block price than the semester system, once again indicating the college’s push for students to refrain from taking blocks off.
In addition to the tuition costs paid by the students, the endowment or other donations pays for 24 percent of tuition. “Since the add-on of endowment money is done on an annual basis, the money comes out of the endowment whether or not the student attended all eight blocks.” That means that even when a student does not attend a block, money that could be used for financial aid or academics is being withdrawn.
“In addition to the financial cost of missing a block, it also means that someone who was on the waitlist for that class can no longer take it.” Moore continues. “Although this isn’t a financial cost, it is something that should be weighed in when a student is considering dropping a block.” There is also the intellectual cost of missing the educational opportunities that the block would provide.
In addition to discouraging skipping blocks, the college encourages the student to take additional classes to the ones simply needed for graduation. The school allows students to take one regularly scheduled class without the cost of tuition. This allows students to take a class that they might not take during the academic school year that explores a topic of interest or a challenging or unusual class that perhaps wouldn’t be taken during the normal school year.