Earn back 16% of this

For the past few weeks, we’ve been giving you tips on how to stick it to the man student life fees by exploiting Columbia giveaways. In this installment, we calculate how much money you can “read back” in free New York Times (and by “read,” we obviously mean “do the crossword/KenKen and then blithely flip through the Thursday Styles section”). No envelope-backs were harmed in the making of this post.

B-of-the-E Assumptions 

  • The academic calendar provides about 36 weeks of viable NYT-taking
  • You can grab a free NYT any day of the week in Lerner or John Jay
  • Regular Monday-Sunday delivery of the NYT for Columbia students costs $6.35 a week
  • Student life fees are $698 per semester, which we’ll call $700


  • If you take a NYT every day of the week for the whole school year, you save ($6.35 x 36) which is like $230ish per school-year
  • For four years, that’s $230 x 4 = $920
  • Four years of student life fees total about $700 x 8 = $5,600
  • ($920 in NYTs / $5,600 in fees) x 100% ends up being about 16%


  • You can score back 16% of your student life fees if you take a free NYT every day of your Columbia career
  • However, we don’t get a free NYT Sunday Magazine, which means you’ll never know the glory of finishing a Sunday Crossword without Google. Pick your battles.

Reminder of what cash looks like via Wikimedia Commons