$18 could buy that class you skipped last week

Kristyn Soltis

Leah Diezman planned to skip class one Friday morning and take part in some tequila tasting with her friends.

After finishing her final margarita, Diezman changed her mind and decided to go to school. She said she was unable to read her notes from class that day, but at least she got her $18 worth.

The $18 wasn’t the cost of the tequila. It was the minimum cost students forfeit when they skip class.

The tuition money lost for skipping class depends on the amount of hours a student takes per semester and how many times the class meets per week.

“Let’s face it, once (students) get out into the job market, if they decide to blow off two days a week to start a weekend of drinking early, they’re not going to last long in a job,” said Andrew Shears, a lecturer in the Geography department. “In the so-called ‘real world,’ doing this would be a reason to check into rehab, but in college it’s just accepted. Odd, right?”

Since Diezman’s tequila experience, she has changed her ways. It’s rare for her to miss more than two classes a month.

“Freshman year (I missed class) once a week, maybe twice,” Diezman said.

Based on the minimum $18, Diezman probably wasted $540 that semester.

This semester, Diezman, a junior early childhood education major, has focused more on school and decreased her class skipping, meaning less wasted money.

“I’m into my major, so I am interested in my classes. I like going,” Diezman said.

Daily attendance is not mandatory at Kent State, but the university attendance policy clearly states the individual instructor has both the responsibility and the prerogative for managing student attendance.

“Responsibility means that, as an instructor, I have to manage attendance somehow, and prerogative means I can manage it any way I choose,” Shears said. “I’ve been told by a number of students that my attendance policy is the nastiest on campus.”

Shears allows two free absences per semester, or three if the class meets three times a week. After that, two to three percent is deducted from the student’s grade.

Shears remembers his undergraduate days when he realized too late in his collegiate career that going to class was a better idea. He regrets not attending class daily.

“From the other side of the desk, I don’t pretend to be the best or even a great instructor, but a student can’t take advantage of what I’ve got to offer if they don’t bother to show up,” Shears said.

Shears said he wants students to not only succeed and enjoy the subject to which he has dedicated 10 years of post-secondary training, but he doesn’t want to see students waste their money.

“If you don’t pass because you missed, say, 40 percent of the classes, doesn’t that lose the entirety of what you paid in?” Shears said.

Shears says he always notices a drop in attendance on Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and the day after exams.

“Days after exams are also notoriously bad,” Shears said. “There can’t be anything important in class that day apparently.”

Jennifer Randell, junior Spanish major, takes an average of 18 credit hours per semester and chooses not to skip classes because of the guilt she feels. On average, She skips two classes a month, if not fewer.

“If I skip it’s usually because I’m really sick with a cold or something of that sort,” she said.

Randell estimates she has wasted roughly $36, missing only two classes this semester.

“I also don’t like to skip because I don’t like the idea of missing so much information that we get during one class and then having to depend on other classmates for the information,” Randell said.

Shears said no mass e-mails to classmates begging for notes or clues will fill in what a student missed during class.

“And please, as a student, don’t come to me and ask if you missed anything,” Shears said. “Of course you missed something. We didn’t just sit there in class lamenting your absence.”

John G. Jewell, interim associate director of Student Success Programs, points out that attending class and being engaged has a significant impact on your educational experience.

One of the many posters created by Student Success Programs says a student can improve his or her semester grade by five to 15 points simply by being involved.

Although Student Success Programs don’t focus on the monetary value of missing class, Jewell mused whether someone would pay hundreds of dollars for season tickets and just not go.

Shears’ advice to students who fall off the horse and miss class is to get back on.

“Accidentally sleeping through one class or even consciously deciding to skip a class doesn’t mean that you’re finished for the semester or that your mission for good attendance is over,” Shears said. “Next time the class meets, dedicate yourself to being there come hell or high water.”

Contact student finance reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].