A common complaint among college faculty and administrators is about the audacious expectations of some (albeit not all) college students. These expectations get translated as “students are so entitled these days!” They are the source of much head shaking and the impetus for conversations that start with “when I was in school I would never…”.

When faculty and staff were students they would never send an email the week before finals asking if there is anything that can be done to pass the course although they never attended class. They would never have filed a complaint with administration after their instructor refused to accept a paper two weeks after the deadline. They would have never referred to their instructor as “dude,” and they would know their instructors’ names.

There are definitely boundaries students should not cross. But, do they know what those boundaries are? Maybe they do not yet know that it is not OK to miss a deadline. Maybe they really believe it is OK to seek recourse when they are told no. Educators have the responsibility to help students learn the difference between reasonable and unreasonable expectations. Educators also have the responsibility to meet audacious expectations, aka entitlements.

Students are entitled.

  • They are entitled to be properly advised about which courses to take in their degree plan.
  • They are entitled to be safe on campus.
  • They are entitled to relevant and meaningful course content.
  • They are entitled to being taught by well-prepared, dedicated, competent and caring faculty.
  • They are entitled to academic support services that build up and support course curriculum.
  • They are entitled to learning and growing in an environment that values different perspectives.
  • They are entitled to courses being offered and scheduled at times that: (1) enable them to make timely progress on their degree path; and (2) accommodate other responsibilities they must balance.
  • They are entitled to timely and accurate information about financial aid.
  • They are entitled to choose among current workforce programs that lead to real opportunities for employment and a living wage.
  • They are entitled to transfer community college academic courses to four-year universities.
  • They are entitled to recourse for legitimate complaints.

Rather than shake our heads and complain, let’s teach students what they are entitled to (and what they’re not). Then, let’s fulfill our obligations to our students.

What else are students entitled to? Leave your comments below.