Teaching and Learning Resources

Entitlement (student)

The millennial generation for a number of reasons, are developing a different view of post-secondary education. Consumerism may play a role, suggesting that because students and often their parents have made a considerable economic investment in the student’s education they are deserving of high grades and flexibility in attaining that degree. While only apparent in a small group of students, most students have at least a mild sense of entitlement. This view can affect the climate of the classroom as well as the student-instructor relationship.  Other issues such as grade inflation and student self-esteem may also spark instances of entitled behaviour directed towards an instructor.


Five Tips for Addressing Student Entitlement

  • Set clear expectations
    • Include explicit requirements for assignments in the course syllabus
    • Use rubrics which break down the different aspects of work that need to be present for higher grades


  • Include the possibility of a negative outcome for grade reevaluation
    • If a student asks you to reevaluate work they feel was not graded appropriately, ensure  they understand that the grade could be lowered if you feel they did not meet the expectations upon a second reading
  • Have students prepare requests in writing
    • If a student wants a grade reevaluation, have them submit their reasons in writing which gets the student to formulate his/her thoughts and gives you the opportunity to consider this without the pressure of an unplanned one-on-one meeting with the student


  • Show examples of excellent work
    • After marking an assignment, post examples of anonymous work that you feel deserved high marks (remove any identifying information from the assignment)
    • This will allow students to compare their own work with the highly successful work so that they can understand if their assignment truly met your expectations
  • Realize students are different from the student that you once were
    • Motivations for attending post-secondary education are changing
    • Expectations of post-secondary institutions and their faculty have changed as well


Adapted from Lippmann, S Bulanda, & Wagenaar (2009).


Related Resources
Lippmann, S. Bulanda, R. & Wagenaar, T. (2009) Student Entitlement. Issues and Strategies for Confronting Entitlement in the Classroom and Beyond. College Teaching Fall.
This article (PDF format)  discusses issues of consumer mentality, grade inflation and self-esteem and suggest ways to manage entitlement.

Grade Inflation and the Myth of Student Consumerism by Elizabeth Boretz
This article presents an alternative view of the issue of student entitlement.

New York Times Article
A discussion on how the general public perceives student entitlement


Alexander, Christopher et al. (2009) “An Examination of the Antecedents and Consequences of Generation Y’s Entitlement Mentality.” Proceedings of the Academy for Studies in Business Volume 1, Number 1 (2009)

Lippmann, Stephen et al. (2009) “Student Entitlement: Issues and Strategies for Confronting Entitlement in the Classroom and Beyond.” College Teaching Volume 57, Number 4