National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. 10, No.1 (Spring/Summer 2009). ISSN 1559-0151 Copyright © 2009 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


At one time or another, we have all dealt with colleagues who expressed doubts about dedicating resources to honors students. They argue that gifted and high-achieving students do not need or deserve additional resources to pursue their educational goals; they will do just fine on their own. Critics of honors often comment that money spent on honors students, who will graduate anyway, should be invested in helping students with traditionally low retention rates; these latter students are the ones who need the resources. At some time in the discussion, such critics typically say that honors education is inherently “elitist” because it serves the “upper” social class. In this essay, we make the argument that honors is not elitist and that the unique needs of honors students from all social classes are no less nor more important than the needs of other students.