Camp Stanford

Welcome to Camp Stanford where for a mere $265 a day, you can receive three hours of classes, three meals, and a roof over your head—all for just $265! (Disclaimer: some classes, meals, and roofs are better than others.) Act now because rates are rapidly rising. Last year, tuition increased six percent, and next year tuition is slated to rise another five percent.

Each quarter, you can take up to 20 class credits for just $11,000. Since Stanford charges a flat rate per quarter, you get the best bang for your buck the more classes you can fit into your already crammed schedule. That is, if you take three classes, you pay $3,666 per class whereas if you take four classes, you only pay $2,750 per class. Buy in bulk and save. What’s that? $11,000 per quarter exceeds your willingness to pay? But that’s the competitive price. You won’t get it any cheaper at an Ivy League. Well, maybe slightly cheaper at Harvard, but when you factor in the weather, it evens out. After all, clear, sunny skies and California tans are worth a few extra thousand dollars.

So you ask: how does the $265-per-day fee break down? You pay $5571 per year on room, which is about $24 a day. Every night you sleep in your partner’s room, you waste $24. For only $3.50 more per day, you and your roommate or partner could stay in the Palo Alto Motel 6 three and a half miles down El Camino Real. But who needs the extra amenities—a queen sized bed, free TV service with HBO and ESPN, morning coffee, maid service, a private bathroom? Sleeping on a tiny, stiff mattress, after all, makes it easier to wake up for morning classes.

The average student taking 15 units pays about $73-per-hour of class. On an overcast day, a typical student sits in class for three hours (of course, that figure drops significantly with rain or sunshine). So every hour of class you skip, you waste $73. Every lecture your professors cancel, you’re out $73—and they’re up $1274. The average associate professor who earns $114,700 a year (full time professors earn $164,300) and lectures three hours a week earns $1274 an hour for teaching (not including office hours and research). Associate professors who work about twenty hours a week between teaching, advising, researching and consulting still earn $191 an hour for all of their work.

Now for the break-down of food expenses: If you’re on a meal plan, you pay $20.50 for your meals each day regardless of whether you eat them (students who fasted for the Stanford Labor Action Coalition each wasted over $180). If you’re on the 19 meal plan, each meal you skip in the dining hall you waste an average of $6.80. If you’re on the 10 meal plan, make that $12.13. An interesting note for those who have the choice of whether to purchase a meal plan: the meal plan only saves you $55 a year—if you eat all 19 meals in the dining halls. If you skip as many as nine meals a year, it is cheaper to buy each meal in the dining halls with cash or cardinal dollars. If you were to eat only lunches, brunches, and dinners in the dining halls, you would save $905 a year.

But honestly, most of the money we students waste or save isn’t our own. It’s our parents’ or the government’s or a donor’s. For scholarship athletes, it comes from the athletic department—largely John Arrillaga. If we students were actually to pay for Camp Stanford in its entirety and graduate without debt, we would have to work 12 hours a day every day each year at the going student wage of $11-an-hour. Even those who receive the average financial aid package, which is $26,639 a year, would still have to work full-time year-round to pay the remainder of the bill.

Scholarship athletes, on the other hand, are on a special work-study program. They get paid to play, though apparently not enough to keep Tiger Woods chipping away at the Stanford green. A full paid scholarship athlete who trains 20-hours-a-week 30-weeks-a-year makes $65 an hour. The average scholarship athlete who receives a $30,388 grant and trains the same amount makes $50 an hour. Red shirts and non-scholarship athletes, on the other hand, lose about $6,600 a year—the opportunity cost of working the same amount at the bookstore or dining hall. An interesting note: If parents of an average scholarship athlete dish out $10,000 a year on athletics from between the time their child is six to eighteen, they would recoup all of their money from tuition savings. If they dish out anything less than $10,000, they come out ahead. Camp Stanford’s Lesson No.1 to parents: Invest in athletics early on.

Here at Camp Stanford, you will learn the values of social justice and equality, but find the principles of capitalism still living strong!

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