The University of Arizona has seen enrollment in its honors program drop by nearly twenty percent after it began charging students $500 a year to participate. More than six hundred students have left the program this year, the first year in which the fee has been imposed.
Remember this story the next time you hear some professor or administrator whining about the “consumer mentality” among today’s college students.
It’s not the students of the University of Arizona who looked at the school’s honors program with dollar signs in their eyes. It’s not the students who decided to transform a community of scholars into a chance to turn a quick buck. It’s not the students who slapped a price tag on a mark of academic distinction.
It’s not the students.
Students, by and large, don’t see themselves as consumers, and they don’t see the university as a product. The campus plays too many — and too varied — roles in their lives to be reduced to that. It’s administrators who commodify education, and those students who adopt consumerist attitudes are taking their cues from them.