Mismatch in Higher Education: Neoliberal Shortcomings in Student Consumerism
This research focuses on uncovering how the neoliberal atmosphere in which we find ourselves has influenced and socialized students to view college as a transaction between a buyer and a seller. Neoliberalism promotes free trade, open markets, and consumerism. How does neoliberal ideology affect student choices (i.e. schools, classes, teachers, etc.) that support and undermine neoliberalism itself? How does the internalization of the student-as-customer model contradict or reinforce neoliberal higher education? Higher education has become a complex institution, and free-market trade may benefit or hinder students. Approximately 28 open-ended interviews have been conducted with students at BSU, and I will conduct a qualitative analysis of these interviews. The criteria for participation required that each subject was over the age of eighteen, was in upper division standing, and was not a current student of the supervising professors. I expect to find that students are guided into education through monetary incentives. Also, I hope to see contradictions in the goals of neoliberalism and the practice of neoliberalism in higher education. It is critical that these shifts in understanding and ideology be researched so that we can interpret the goals and expectations of students.