Last week, Stanford’s Board of Trustees approved a 3.5 percent combined tuition, room and board increase, which will bring total undergraduate charges to $52,341 for the 2011-2012 academic year.
As I suspect is also true for other Stanford students, I already try not to think too hard about the financial breakdown of my education. That discussion section I attended, and spent daydreaming and watching a squirrel in a tree outside the window? Under the increase, it will have just cost me $67. And, since Stanford students don’t pay by the unit like students at some other schools do, if I’m taking fewer than 20 units that price tag could have shot all the way up to $111. Gulp.
Of course, it’s possible to evoke all the intangibilities of the Stanford experience and cite all of the resources that are available to us on campus, from gym and athletic facilities access to libraries and student activities. What’s more, we can also consider the opportunity we have to establish relationships with our peers. What we pay for isn’t concentrated in our classes. I think all Stanford students know this, but the exercise of assigning a price to the discrete aspects of our lives still makes us feel uncomfortable. Are we worth that? Is this place living up to all those hard-earned dollars?
It’s possible to get in too much of a flurry over finances, to feel our pulses quicken if we’ve just “slacked off” and “wasted” several more hundred dollars, rather than taking advantage of the opportunities Stanford offers us to be well-rounded. But still, what if the next time we pushed that snooze button a harsh voice blared, “$75!”?