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Service Quality in Higher Education: The Experience of Overseas Students

Author(s): Maria Pereda | David Airey | Marion Bennett

Journal: Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sports and Tourism Education
ISSN 1473-8376

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 55;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Service quality | Higher education | International students

The higher education of students has become increasingly internationalised, with an evergrowing proportion of students originating from overseas. However, research to date suggests that overseas students are often less satisfied with their courses than other students. Consequently, there is a burgeoning need for universities to understand what students value in their university experience. This paper reports on a study that establishes and tests dimensions for measuring service quality in higher education, focusing on full-feepaying postgraduate students from non-EU countries at one institution in the UK. The institution concerned has a particular reputation in tourism and hospitality and a significantproportion of the respondents were studying these subjects. Adopting Lehtinen and Lehtinen’s 1991 framework, a Q-sort was undertaken followed by factor analysis. The results of the research highlighted four factors of service quality: recognition; quality of instructionand interaction with faculty; sufficiency of resources; and aspects of physical quality. Arguably, the most significant finding here is the importance that these students attach to their institution’s reputation.
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