The cost of skipping

by Cassie Lauterbach

Skipping a class or two may not seem like a big deal, but miss too many and the losses pile up quickly.

For a student taking 15 credit hours, each hour of missed class wastes $43.18 of his or her total tuition costs according to Accounts Receivable Director Sherri Aldridge.

In addition to that money going to waste, skipping too many classes also affects financial aid.

“If a student receives state funds, we have to make sure that student is attending class,” said Tracie Pavon, assistant vice president and director for financial assistance. “To receive funds from the government and not attend class is illegal.”

Once a professor alerts financial assistance of a student’s absences, attendance tracking begins.

“Unfortunately, it happens more than it should,” Pavon said. “We have to do a lot of tracking.”

Eventually, the college has to cut a student’s financial aid if they miss too much class.

“I bet a lot of students don’t know that skipping class can be such a big deal,” senior Dave Eickelberg said. “If it means potentially losing thousands of dollars in financial aid, most people would say that isn’t worth it.”

If a student is dropped from a class due to attendance issues, his or her full-time status could become part-time. This change can cause loans to be due sooner.

Another form of aid reduction cuts funds in accordance to the percentage of time they’re in class.

“If a student is in class 20 percent of the term, they will only receive 20 percent of their funds,” Pavon said.

If a student foresees a failing grade because of attendance, the best solution is to meet with financial aid to develop a plan of action.

“It is far better for students to drop a class properly than to unexpectedly lose money,” Pavon said.

Because of budget cuts, the government continues to crack down on students who aren’t putting its money to good use.

“Financial aid from the government is all about making sure the right kids are getting the right funds,” Pavon said.

Associate Dean of Academics John Bolen said the weather has a significant effect on attendance.

“Students skipping classes has more to do with the weather,” said Bolen. “When it is nice outside, we see more absences in the classroom.”

Bolen said every professor has his or her own attendance policy.

“While some professors allow for unexcused absences, many do not,” Bolen said. “It is a very probable situation that students may lose grade points.”

Even if a professor doesn’t specifically address attendance, Simpson College has a blanket attendance policy stated in the catalog.

Excused absences outlined by the college cannot be counted unexcused in professors’ attendance policies.

“College-sponsored events, severe illnesses, or family emergencies constitute excused absences,” Bolen said. “Even then, students can expect to make up the work they miss in class.”