Students as Either Customers or Learners

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1247 Words
Date:  2021-03-19

Currently, the treatment of students as either customers or learners has already become a hot topic in the society. Schools are looking forward to find an innovation of improving the educational quality and the relationship with students. The idea of students are consumers is widely debatable among people. Due to the educational development, the colleges and the whole society is seeking new ways to give students a new identity. In the modern society, a small percentage of individuals think that students become treated as customers because they pay the tuition fees. Students have the right to act as clients and give evaluation on college education. Many individuals have agreed to this concept instead of rejecting it. Treating students as customers would seemingly erode the core value of higher education. In my opinion, it becomes the students responsibility in remembering that they should act as learners and not as customers. It is their obligation to receive quality education. On the other hand, colleges should guide the correct way to students and foster them to be co-producers in this consumer market.

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Students who tend to see themselves more as customers have already built unhealthy cash relationships with schools; this phenomenon also causes schools to neglect their duties and only think about the money. Schools need international students to create multiple cultures and diversification amongst students. Another reason as to why schools admit many students is because they need the money to solve their budget issues and other obligations. To address such problems, more colleges sign contracts with agencies and choose to use commercial means of enrolling more students (Saul, 2016). It is hard to deny that the money acquired from students solves schools problems temporarily. However, when the schools only think more about money than education, this potentially damages the relationship between colleges and students. Students identify themselves as customers since they have to pay the tuition fees to the colleges (Schings, 2016). Schings points out that those students who consider themselves as customers are entitled to complain when they receive poor grades (Schings, 2016). The students who pay for grades to receive better ones give good feedback to those that wish to enroll to that school making the issue quite difficult to handle. They are therefore treated as customers and evaluation is their level of satisfaction with prospects.

On the other hand, the consumer relationship would cause colleges to become more negligent of the students educational attainment. (Schings, 2016) points out that 106 of 132 students admitted through the recruitment effort scored below the colleges requirement. With the entry CAT testing on English skills, it is apparent that this is the measure of competence of the student in academics. Regardless of what the student receives as entry grade, the colleges view the applicants as customers. As such, they enroll as many as possible to gain more profits. Thus, most of them lower their requirements to enroll students who can afford college fees but are not qualified on merit. It is unethical bringing students to the institutions and leaving them to believe that they can be successful when there is no quality education to make sure theyre successful. In this commercial relationship, students see various colleges as different brands. Colleges try to impress students more on their achievement instead of focusing on academic research. They spend a lot of energy to raise schools ranking in garish charts to attract students to the institutions. This naturally becomes a business. Otherwise, the concept of students as consumers is deeply stationed in the students mind and lets them imagine that they can even pay money to buy college degrees. It is wrong to have the idea of being successful through crude means without putting efforts. However, it is common now whereby a student pays the fee to get a degree from the colleges (McGhee, 2015).

Even though it is hard to avoid the cash relationship, colleges can treat students as co-producers thereby the students pay for their learning experience as the schools offer them the knowledge. According to Foxs article, Education and Consumerism: Using Students Assumptions to Challenge Their Thinking, the author asserts that most people have biased judgment when they hear the students are customers. He explains that students pay tuition fees to get higher education, thus, teachers should not struggle on how to give a title to students. It becomes reliable in using customers title in challenging students to express their perception on the issue. It allows students to think differently about how they can participate in the educational exchange. Students will use active learning techniques to achieve the education. Fostering students to be learners in the commercial market is an innovation in the education field, referred to as knowledge business. This idea is pointed out by Nabers, an Associate Professor of English at Brown, in his speech If Students Are Customers, What is the Bottom Line. He describes that exams are not the only way to test students. If colleges want to make academic improvement and improve further education for students, universities need to have innovation which inspires students rather than teach knowledge (Nabers, 2011). The expression shows a continual process of guiding students and making them have clear directions on how to solve problems. Being critical thinkers will foster students to become ideal learners.

College faculties and administrators should show consideration for students needs, irrespective of their financial abilities or inabilities. It is a fact that those students who are happy in the college environment are those who are strongly involved with the students traditional role as learners (Schings, 2016). Schings adds that It helps students re-identify their role which is to be learners in colleges and not reduced to fee-payers. He goes on to add remarks that Universities could emphasize students accountability for helping create knowledge and meeting. The points emphasize that instead of letting students ask for grades when they get dissatisfied by the academic results, they need to be aggressive to learning processes and this can be achieved through an active role of the college (Schings, 2016). Students should also put themselves on a right level to respect professors and sincerely get knowledge from the schools. It is the students obligation to act the traditional role of learners in colleges because only students achieve the real knowledge from schools.

Colleges should exercise impartiality when treating students. Treatment to students should reflect on them as learners more than customers. Even though current conditions show the cash relationship between schools and students is trending, universities can take this opportunity to have an innovative way in the education field that generalizes the idea of knowledge business. Rather than recruiting students leading to lowering of the intuitions academic standards, it is more important to foster students to have critical thinking on how to act as real learners in colleges. Meanwhile, it is also the schools responsibility to create a healthy educational environment for students.


Fox, D. M. (2014, May 19). Education and Consumerism: Using Students Assumptions to Challenge Their Thinking. Retrieved July 16, 2016 from

McGhee, P. (2015, March 31). Let students be students not customers. Retrieved July 15, 2016,

from, D. (2011, July 26). TEDxBrownUniversity - If Students Are Customers, What's the Bottom Line? Retrieved July 16, 2016, from

Saul, S. (2016, April 19). Recruiting Students Overseas to Fill Seats, Not to Meet Standards. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from students-overseas-to-fill-seats-not-to-meet-standards.html?_r=0

Schings, S. (n.d.). Are Students Customers of Their Universities? Retrieved July 21, 2016, from

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Students as Either Customers or Learners. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved from

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