National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2013, Volume 14, Number 2


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


In recent years the option of enrolling in honors programs and colleges at major public universities has increasingly become an alternative to elite private and public institutions for some of the brightest and most academically talented high school graduates. To attract these high-achieving students, universities may offer applicants incentives such as merit scholarships, smaller classes, honors residential options, research experiences, and enrichment programs. The message to prospective students is that, by enrolling in an honors college or program, they will receive an education that rivals what would be obtained at an elite private school and at a much lower price. A consequence of this message is that, in many cases, honors programs and colleges have increasingly become a separate brand, differentiated from the larger institution as more elite and selective while delivering an enhanced educational product.