Does paying uni fees make you a customer? A customer like someone who buys something in a shop?
Here's a thought-provoking blogpost on The Thesis Whisperer (an esteemed Australian research-support blog) about the relationship between student, institution and research supervisor. The author of the post, Dr Sarah Louise Quinell, is at Kings College London, so there are interesting comments about the UK situation.
I'm a Paying Customer - read it here.