Living the High-Class College Life

With hotel-like amenities, colleges are luring students.

Sept. 20, 2008 — -- Kiosks with free food on the promenade to ensure students don't go hungry on the way to class, free iPhones, concierge services — this definitely isn't your parents' college. University life in 2008 looks a whole lot different than it used to, thanks to a bevy of amenities geared to make students' lives more comfortable.

Higher education institutions have upped the ante during the last decade, which means their curriculums aren't the only things luring students. Now their services and top-notch facilities do, too.

"Because college is so expensive, I think that is one of the factors and they see the students as their customers. When you have a customer paying $40,000 a year, you are going to go a lot farther to make sure they are happy," said Brain Kelly of U.S. News and World Report.

To keep customers satisfied, universities like Arizona State send text message to students that alert them when their laundry is ready. The University of North Carolina offers class notes to students online, so if you didn't take them in class you still can get them without trying to track down classmates with legible handwriting.

But the perks don't end there. High Point University in North Carolina has plenty of luxuries to choose from including lobster — that's right — lobster for lunch thanks to personalized menus. It also has a concierge desk for students.

"This is a one stop shop for students where they can find information kind of quick," said campus concierge Leslie Smith.

The desk offers things like restaurant reservation to dry cleaning with the philosophy of serving students that inspires High Point University president Nido Qubein.

"Everything is focused on values and modeling values. So the concierge is modeling the value of service," Qubein said. "The ice cream truck is modeling the value of joy."

"We are trying to instill that which is important, that which can impact their life," he added.

And that makes for better students according to one administrator.

"I think the students feel obligated to be prepared, to be better learners, to take their academic role seriously because everything else has been attended to," said High Point University academic affairs vice president Dennis Carroll. "In effect, they're giving back by being better students."