College is certainly no ordinary commodity...
A friend shared this on Facebook back in June, but I've scheduled this post for now because it seems relevant to those starting university this month or next.
It's an interesting piece because, rather than simply attacking the idea that college should be seen as an economic investment, it makes the point that what you get out of education largely depends on what you put in. Though students are consumers, lecturers cannot simply pocket their fees and force an education into their heads.
I sometimes use an analogy (not my own) with gym membership. Paying a subscription to a gym doesn't magically make you fitter and healthier - it provides you with opportunities to use the facilities, but you still have to work to make the most of it. So it is with university: there are many opportunities available to students at any university, but students have a responsibility to make the most of them.
This is one reason why it's difficult to rank universities based on results - those results depend not only on the 'service providers' but also the 'service consumers'.