Students Today Believe They're Buying an Education

As opposed to earning one, a professor writes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2015 11:54 AM CST
Students Today Believe They're Buying an Education
Students sunbathe on the steps of Columbia University's Low Memorial Library next to Daniel Chester French's sculpture, Alma Mater, April 29, 2015 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Somehow, students at higher education institutions have gone from thinking they're working for a degree to believing they're simply buying one. That's what an "anonymous academic" writes in a Guardian op-ed, citing a number of personal observations and those of colleagues: Students expect professors to meet with them at whatever time is most convenient for the student; they believe they are "owed" a good grade simply because they paid tuition and showed up; and, in one particularly egregious example, the writer recounts seeing campus littered with flyers declaring, "All I’m asking for is a little respect seeing as I pay you £9,000 [approximately $13,400] a year."

Rumor has it, the academic writes, that students irked that they weren't given assignment extensions were behind the flyers. "These young people weren’t behaving like university students, they were behaving like customers," writes the academic. "Learning has shifted ... from an intellectual achievement to a commodity." Students complain about low grades even if they haven't done anything to earn a higher grade, and, the academic writes, they are "increasingly reluctant" to engage in learning simply for the sake of learning. To today's student, "I am not an expert in my field, a practitioner with 10 years’ worth of industry knowledge. I am a service provider." Click for the full column. (Read more colleges and universities stories.)

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