Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Why do colleges expect money from alums?

Got a call from a telemarketer for the Berkeley College of Engineering. As usual, they'd like to "get feedback from the alums to benefit from their wisdom and experience" and, oh, while they're at it, give us an opportunity to donate. While attempting to gracefully extricate myself from the conversation, it occurred to me that I might have an unusual attitude towards my alma mater.

Which is: we had a straightforward business relationship. I paid them my money in exchange for them providing me with educational services.

When I buy a book, does the bookstore call me up later and ask for donations to subsidize future book sales? When I go out for a meal, does the restaurant call me up later and ask for donations to subsidize future meals? So why is a college different? What makes them expect that I will feel obligated to give them extra money above and beyond the amount I paid them voluntarily in tuition and the amount I continue to pay them involuntarily in taxes?

Performancing