Ethnic group differences regarding choice factor importance in public higher education institution selection

21 Sep 2010

The main goal of the study was to investigate the relevant importance of choice factors as considered by students from different ethnic groups when selecting higher education institutions in South Africa. A non-probability convenience sample of 1,241 respondents from six South African universities was drawn. A self-administrated questionnaire was used based on a 5-point Likert scale and included 23 choice factors which students had to rank accordingly. Descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing were used to identify the most important choice factors and uncover differences between ethnic groups. Overall the quality of teaching and employment prospects seem to play a very important role in students’ decisions to choose an institution. The findings indicated that some choice factors were more important to certain ethnic groups than others such as the multi-cultural nature of the institution and social factors. A proper understanding of the relative importance of choice factors students consider when selecting a higher education institution will enable institutions to allocate funds, time and resources more efficiently and effectively. The results can aid South African higher education institutions in developing effective marketing and recruitment strategies to attract students from different ethnic groups.