Can You Cover Yourself With All Your Student Life Fees?

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We’d get back even more if we were located at Niagara Falls

Last week, Bwog calculated exactly how much of his or her student life fees a Columbia student could drink back at Lerner Pubs.  This week, Bwog has found another source of free items (and use for Frontiers) to take back a few more of those student life dollars.

B-of-the-E Assumptions (based on Google)

  • There are about 180 days per year that every student will be on campus if he or she only leaves for Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break.
  • Let’s say those plastic rain ponchos are a fashion statement (ie: not just for rainy days).
  • Several on campus locations, including Lerner Hall and the Hartley Hospitality Desk, stock plastic ponchos.
  • New York City has an average of 121 rainy days per year.
  • The wholesale price of rain ponchos is $50.79 for 48 ponchos.
  • Student life fees are $698 per semester, which we’ll call $700


  • Student life fees for 8 semesters = $700 x 8 = $5,600
  • The average cost of a poncho= $50.79/48= $1.06, about $1
  • The approximate percentage of one year that a student is on campus: 180/365 = about 50% of the time
  • So, if there are 121 rainy days per year, we’re around for roughly 50% of those, or 60
  • If you take one poncho for every rainy day over the course of four years= 240 ponchos (If a few friends are willing to give you their ponchos, that’s even more! But it also begs the question what you might do with all of them…).
  • Dollar value in ponchos= 240x$1= $240
  • Percent of student life fees returned= $240/$5,600= 4.3%


  • A student can get back about 4%ish of his/her student life fees by taking one poncho every rainy day at Columbia.
  • Ponchos are more valuable than beer
  • Back-of-the-envelope calculations are a tested and proven method to procrastinate starting your problem set, ever.

People who know what’s up via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Please  

    Post something worth reading.


  2. Ko

    Nice analysis. Reminds me of my internship at BCG.

  3. The Dark Hand  

    How much of my student life could be saved if they would stop funneling money into the clutches of Spec?

  4. Anonymous  

    What other free stuff can be analyzed this way? The Prezbo fun run shirt? Free pizza from student groups? There was some free stuff at NSOP, I guess, but that had its own orientation fee.

  5. Optional

    Reminded me my consulting internship too.

  6. Anonymous  

    Are rainy days spread evenly throughout the year? Maybe there are more or fewer during the months we are here.

  7. Anonymous  

    And if you grab a free copy of The New York Times every time you walk through Lerner, you can earn back even more of your student life fees!

  8. Anonymous  

    What if you used a free condom everytime?

  9. Anonymous  

    i just wanted to mention again that i fucking hate the new layout of this site. ive officially switched to spec. fuck you guys for betraying me. i cant belieeve this shit.

  10. Sasha  

    I like this article, Roberta! Very funny :) Good choice on a rainy day, too. Maybe we should be hoarding fruit from the dining hall, too, to make up for the expensive meal plan!

  11. Anonymous  

    what if I went to EVERY club meeting with free pizza. What if I joined every pre-professional society and went to all the conferences. What if I used every page of my printing quota

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