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INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH IN BUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 2012
VOL 4, NO 5

FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDENT’S ENROLLMENT DECISIONS IN
SELECTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS (HEI’S)

Farhan Mehboob
Sukkur Institute of Business Administration Sukkur, Pakistan
Syed Mir Muhammad Shah
Sukkur Institute of Business Administration Sukkur, Pakistan
Niaz A Bhutto
Sukkur Institute of Business Administration Sukkur, Pakistan

Abstract
The study investigates the factors affecting student’s enrollment decision when they come across with selection of HEI’s. The main objective of this study is to explore those factors that stand out very critical in influencing and determining student’s attendance decision in HEI’s. The study demonstrates three factors which are further categorized into eleven sub factors, internal factors
(Aspiration, Aptitude, and Career), External factors (Courses, Cost, Location, Reputation,
Promotion, and Facilities) and Social factors (parents/friends/teacher). The study depicts mixed results; all factors are found somehow important in selection of Institutes. The factor Career has been found as the most preferred one for students to pursue in HEI’s. The three factors have found significantly related to student enrollment decision. The factor “facility” is the most influential attribute found in determining student enrollment decisions in HEI’s.
Keywords: FACTORS ; INFLUENCING STUDENT’S ENROLLMENT DECISIONS ;
SELECTION ; HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS (HEI’S)
INTRODUCTION
Much of the reforms have been seen across the world over the period of time, as the world has been experiencing substantial socio- cultural transitions and economic restructuring due to
Information Technology and Globalization. These changes also raised concerns for countries not only to be more adoptiveto the changes but also design and develop innovative tools, equipment, processes, systems, structures, policies and resources in such a way to remain compatible in this
Globalized arena. The same case also being viewed in education sector especially The Higher
Education Institutions (HEI). The massive growth has also been seen in HEI’s as well, in term of student’s enrollment and high spending from both public and private investorsto this regard. The continuous increasing demand for competent Human resource by the corporate sector also induce more pressure on HEI’s to produce highly acclaimed professional who can perform at their optimum KSA’s level.
The high growth and increased demand also intensifies the competition within HEI’s to grab up more attention of the students across. Thus HEI’s putting more efforts towards their marketing operations by enhancing their marketing mix attributes in order to identify, communicate, attract and serve their customers (Students) better than their competitors, Renewing their recruitment/ staffing policies as wellby identifying those aspects which are critical to student needs and aspirations. The purpose of this study is also to explore the various factors that stand out very critical for students in college choice decisions. The study aims to identify those factors that have a
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significant influence on student’s enrollment decisions and play a vital role in their decision making process. Many factors have been explored and studied by various researcher across the globe and investigated its direction and magnitude of relationship with students enrollment decisions. They all found various factors, its relationship and relative influence on decision choice. The current study also aims to extend the findings of the previous studies and to identify that which factor influencing more in college attendance choice in Pakistani context.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Many studies have been done in order to explore the various antecedents and factors which effect the university or college selection choice decisions among students. Many variables have been identified and investigated to determine their impact on the student choice of university or college. Chapman (1981) demonstrated the influence of various factors on student college choice and reported that personal aspiration, performance at school and external factors contributes more to college choice (Hossler and Gallagher 1987;Borus 1993). Those external factors include marketing efforts by college (Hossler and Bean 1990), characteristics of Institute
(Kohn et al, 1976) and significant persons (Baharun et al, 2002). In another study Student educational aspirations found positively related with college attendance choice (Carpenter and
Fleishman 1987; Ariffin et al 2008). The student’s own ability and aptitude also reported as one of the important contributor in selection of colleges (Manski and Wise 1983; Hossler1984).
College location also found to be a significant predictor of College choice as investigated by
(Kohn et al 1976; Servier 1986; Servier 1994; Absher and Crawford1996). They noted that college proximity and distance from home could also have a significant impact on student choice to enroll in college. Academic program offerings, its content range and duration also found to have a significant association on student’s college selection as reported by (Ford et al, 1999;
Yousaf et al, 2008). College Reputation found to be a very strong predictor of College choice as examined by (Lay and Maguire 1981; Murphy 1981;Keling 2006). They observed that college reputation has a strong influence and persuasiveness power on student’s college selection decisions. Cost associated with college also termed as an important factor to be discussed by various researchers (Webb 1993;Joseph and Joseph 1998) as cost has a strong influence in college choice decisions. Availability of financial aid also has a persuasive power on student college attendance (Litten 1982; Manski 1983; Jackson 1986). They analyzed that financial aid will likely to induce more enrollments in colleges than other factors.
Paulson (1981) examined the impact of Employment opportunity and its relation with college choice decisions and found that employment opportunities are the stronger predictor of enrollment decisions. In another study (Sevier 1998 Garma and Moy 2003) also identified and reported a significant association between employment rate of graduates in determining the college attendance decisions. Campus visit also found an important factor in college selection process as noted by (Hossler 1990; Sevier 1992). They concluded that student’s visit to college also persuade them to enroll in the college.
On the other hand Marketing Mix, Marketing efforts and channels also found to be an important factor in influencing student’s college choice. Many researchers study this variable and found it a very significant contributor of enrollment decisions. Felix (2006) while investigating the impact of marketing mix strategies explained that Program and Price attribute of Marketing mix are significant determinants of student enrollment choice than other marketing mix variables.
Hossler(1990) also examined the influence of advertisement on student college selection and found that radio and television ads provide a good vehicle for educational marketers to

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communicate a good image and build strong brand recognition among students in an effective way. METHODOLOGY
The study has being done on the first year students of Higher Education institutions (HEI). About
251 (n=251) students from HEI’s participated in that study. A self-administrative questionnaire,
(Institute selection choice, ISC) was used to collect data from students of various HEI’s. having compact description of the purpose of the study that why the study is being conducted for what the participants actually have to do with. The ISC questionnaire constitutes 11 factors
(Courses/program, Cost/fee structure, Location, Career opportunities, Student Aspirations
Aptitude/Ability, Friends/Parents Influence, Financial Aid, Institute’s Reputation
Advertisement/Promotion and Facilities/Accommodation) that influence student’s enrollment decisions in selection of HEI’s. The factors consist of 40 items with minimum of 3 items each to a single factor as shown(). The response scale ranges from (Not important 1 to Very Important
5). There was also Rank Preference Question put into that questionnaire, stating all 11 factors.The participants were given a task to rank any three of the most preferred factors influencing their selection decision as 1, 2 and 3 respectively. There was also a portion for
Demographic information, with Gender, Age, Program, Semester, Institute, and Monthly
Household Income. The participants were given ample time to fill the questionnaire.
Before starting conducting surveys, questionnaire was presented to group of experts for having expert opinion on the contents, items, scale and factor description etc. After having some amendments, it was finally put into survey process. A pilot study was also being done on 15 students in order to check the content or face validity and reliability of the questionnaire as well.
The test gave reasonable results towards validity and reliability thus making it feasible for data collection. The reliability coefficient, Cronbach’s alpha of 44 items was found to be .92 which shows a highly reliable and consistent measuring tool. According to Nunnally (1978) the reliability coefficient of .70 is acceptable one for internal consistency of the measure.
DATA ANALYSIS
The various statistical techniques have been applied to accomplish the objectives of the study.
Descriptive stats, Mean, Standard Deviation, has done to check the level of importance of each factor and across demographics i.e Gender, Age, Household income etc. as well, the standard deviation to know the variance of the data from its mean value. For ordinal values descriptive stats has also been done to check the frequency and preferences of the factor orders. The interitem correlation has also been done to test the multi - co linearity among predicting variables with each other. The coefficient of correlation (Pearson r) also done to test the direction and magnitude of relationship among enrollment decision factors with institute selection decisions.
Multiple regression analysis has also been done to check out the relative influence of predicting variables in determining student’s enrollment decisions.
RESULTS/FINDINGS
The Descriptive stats have been done to know the relative frequency and proportionate distribution among demographic variables table 1. It also shows the mean value of the factors and their contributions to the enrollment decisions among students table 1. In Gender, male students took part more in the study with valid percentage case of 73.1 % than female students, who’s valid percentage was 26.9% of the total participation. In Age group, the participants with
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age under 20 have contributed more in the study with valid percentage of 53.3%. As only the first year students of HEI actually the target population of the study therefore the students studying in first and second Semester were targeted to accomplish this study. The students studying in second semester participated more in the study with valid percentage of 54.3% than the first semester students. Other variable like House hold income were also added in the demographic contents, in order to know the Household income level of the students and its relative influence in determining student’s enrollment decision, that is analyzed in Regression
Analysis. The Students having household income less than 25000 PKR were found more than other income group individuals with valid percentage of 47.2%. Table 1 also shows the mean values of the enrollment decisions with each of the demographic variable.
Table 1: Frequency Distribution and Mean values of the Demographics
Frequency

Gender
Male
Female
Age
Under 20
Above 20
Semester
1st
2nd
House hold Income PKR/Monthly
Less than 25000
25001-50000
50001-75000
75001-100000
More than 100000

Valid Percentage

Mean Enrollment Decision

182
67

73.1
26.9

3.73
3.68

106
93

53.3
46.7

3.87
3.60

113
134

45.7
54.3

3.79
3.66

84
51
21
04
18

47.2
28.7
11.8
2.2
10.1

3.81
3.82
3.74
3.24
3.91

Table 2 shows the Mean value of the factors contributing to enrollment decision in HEI’s. It also shows the number of items, a factor possesses in the study and the values of the measure of
Cronbach’s alpha for each of the factors to know their reliability and internal consistency. The factor “Aspiration” has found to be the most important attribute and contributing more in the enrollment decisions made by the students in selection of HEI’s with mean value of 4.12. While
“cost” found to be the least important factors in contributing to student’s enrollment decisions.
Table 2 also shows the Cronbach’s alpha of factor each, Reliability Coefficient of all factors found reasonable except the two factors Courses/Program and Location, whose Cronbach’s
Alpha was touch on the lower side with alpha (.524 and .481) respectively. The factors “Career opportunities” and “Facilities/Accommodation” shows a strong reliability and internal consistency with alpha (.847 and .831) respectively.

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INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH IN BUSINESS
Table 2: Mean values, Number of items and Cronbach’s alpha of each Factor
*Mean

*Items

*Cronbach's

Course/Program

3.49

4

0.524

Cost/Fee Structure

3.11

4

0.707

Location

3.68

3

0.481

Career

3.88

4

0.847

Aspirations

4.12

4

0.712

Aptitude/Abilities

3.93

3

0.611

Friends/Parents Influence

3.41

3

0.662

Financial Aid

3.85

3

0.723

Institute's Reputation

3.96

3

0.781

Advertisement/Promotion

3.49

4

0.792

Facilities/Accommodation

3.82

5

0.831

Table 3 shows the rank preference of each factor, the students rank each of the factors according to their utmost preferences. There was also a preference rank question in the questionnaire in which students were asked to rank any three most preferred factors that stimulates their enrollment decision in HEI’s. The table shows the students rank distribution to each factor. The factor “Career opportunities” was regarded as the most preferred factor among the students that induce their enrollment decision. The “Courses/ Program” was the second most preferred factor respectively. It means that student prefer their career as the one which motivates them to take
Rank
First 1
Second 2
Third 3

C/P C
36
20
21

L
10
22
16

CO

A

A/A

F/P/T

FA

IR

A/P

F/A

21
11
22

39
30
24

5
8
9

4
11
8

12
16
14

15
16
17

20
21
12

2
5
7

3
7
13

admission in HEI’s.
Table 3: Rank orders of the Factors
C/P (Courses/Program), C (Cost), L (Location), CO (Career Opportunities), A (Aspiration), A/A (Aptitude/Abilities), F/P/T
(Friends/Parents/Teacher), FA (Financial Aid), IR (Institute’s Reputation), A/P (Advertisement/Accommodation), F/A
Facilities/Accommodation.

Table 4 shows the inter-item correlation matrix among predicting variables in order to analyze the magnitude and direction of the relationship with each other. The main objective of this technique is to check the multi co-linearity among predicting variables with each other. The VIF
(Variance Inflation Factor) a multi co-linearity detector tool was used to identify the multi colinearity among predicting variables because high multi co linearity could distort the values of standard error thus affecting the t values. So there are possibilities to commit Type I or Type II error. To avoid those possibilities of multi co linearity the VIF has being done in this study. The
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values of VIF of all predicting variables fall between 1and 3 thus showing that multi co linearity among variables is acceptable. Although the relationship between predicting variable with each other is significantly positive but the multi co linearity is reasonably one.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Courses

1

Cost

.305**

1

Location

.247**

.126*

1

Career

.464**

.102

.304**

1

Aspiration

.301**

.278**

.318**

.514**

1

Aptitude

.243**

.049

.190**

.294**

.402**

1

Parents

.241**

.076

.175**

.194**

.222**

.131*

1

Financialaid

.253**

.174**

.228**

.399**

.298**

.333**

.132*

1

Reputation

.415**

.123

.309**

.523**

.542**

.382**

.296**

.341**

1

Promotion

.420**

.204**

.193**

.309**

.387**

.180**

.345**

.246**

.421**

1

Facilities

.484**

.205**

.308**

.442**

.411**

.331**

.242**

.423**

.549**

11

.572**

1

Table 4: Inter-factor Correlation Matrix
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Table 5 shows the Multiple Regression Analysis results in which all 11 factors were regressed with the dependent variable of student decisions. The MRA has been done in order to check the relative influence and predicting power of the predicting variables in predicting student’s enrollment decision. That test actually based on the objectives of our study, to know the influence of the factors which actually determines the enrollment decisions. The MRA shows that three factors Facilities, Financial Aid and Parents/friends, found significantly influential in predicting student enrollment decision in HEI’s. The factor Facilities/Accommodation has found to be the most influential factor (b = .362, P < .01) in determining student enrollment decision, followed by “financial aid and Parents/friends” with (b = .138, P < .05 and b = .134, P < .05) respectively. The factor “Facilities” contains five of the mentioned items. The Quality instructional aids,
Reasonable Hostel accommodation, Library facilities with adequate study materials and resources, Transport facilities and Computer lab facilities provided by the Institute. The MRA depicts that Facilities provided by the institute have the greater impact when the student want to be in the institute and could be the decisive factor in their selection decisions. So the institute

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should take more care about their facilities and services infrastructure to flourish and long run prospects. On the other hand Zero order correlation has also been done in order to know the magnitude and direction of the relationship among independent variables and the enrollment decision. All factors found positively related to student enrollment decision but the magnitude of the relationship was weak to moderate one. The Facilities shows a strong correlation (r = .553, P <
.01) with student enrollment decision while the factor Cost shows a weak association (r = .168) with enrollment decision.
The R- square shows the goodness of fit that how our model integrates with estimations and predictions we made. It also shows that how much the variance has been explained by predicting variables in the dependent variable. The R- square was found to be a reasonable one of .372, which suggests that 37.2% of the variance has been explained by the independent variables in dependent variable. The F test (ANOVA) shows a significant difference (F = 10.224, P < .01) between independent variables and dependent variable.
Table 5: Multiple Regression Analysis (MRA) and Zero Order Correlation Analysis
Coefficients
Standardized

Model

t

Sig.

Correlations

Coefficients

Zero-order
Beta

(Constant)

.304

.761

.362*

4.467

.000

.553

Promotion

.108

1.395

.165

.423

Reputation

.066

.798

.426

.399

Financial aid

.138

**

2.027

.044

.351

Aptitude

-.002

-.033

.974

.233

Aspiration

-.015

-.185

.853

.345

.019

.246

.806

.325

-.052

-.707

.481

.293

Cost

.022

.342

.733

.168

Location

.066

1.015

.312

.292

**

2.113

.036

.319

Facilities

Career
Courses

Parents
R Square
F

.135
.372
10.224*

a. Dependent Variable: Student Decision

*P < .01, **P < .05

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DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION
The study investigates those critical factors that affects and contributes more to the enrollment decisions made by students in selection of HEI’s. The study actually explores three dimensions of Student Decision choice, one aspect are the factors internal to student, driving them internally towards selection decision. It entails student’s own Aspirations (Chapman 1981; Carpenter et al
1987; Ariffin et al 2008) and Aptitude &Abilities as indicated by (Manski et al. 1983;Hossler
1984; Hossler et al. 1987;Borus 1993) which determines student’s direction to move on and be with the institute or not. The second aspectis the factors that lie external to student’s domain and influence by and large to the decisions made by them (Chapman 1981). The internal factor motivates student intrinsically and drive them towards HEI’s i.e “Aspiration” the student desire and personal interest, his aptitude & abilities induces them to attain higher education. The external factors are the factors which are external to student or in other words the factors outside the student domain. The external factors influence student decisions by developing an appealing stimulus for them to respond towards it. These external factors mainly based on or revolve around the institutes, so most of the factors like Program/Courses offered (Ford et al, 1999;
Yousaf et al, 2008), Location(Kohn et al, 1976; R.A. 1986; Servier R.A. 1994;Absher et al,
1996), Facilities, Financial aid(Jackson 1986; Litten1982; Manski, 1983) offerings by the institute, Communication channels like Advertisement, Promotions and campus visit (Hossler
1990; Sevier 1992;Felix 2006) Reputation of the Institute(Lay et al, 1981; Keling 2006, &
Murphy 1981) Cost and fee structure (Webb 1993; Joseph et al 1998). These are the various factors that are the key determinants of student selection choice. The third important attribute is the social factor like friends, parents and teachers (Baharun et al 2002), they also play an important part in determining student enrollment decision. Their good or bad word of mouth, right or wrong could make it very worthwhile for student decision choice at the end.
The study comprises three parts; the first one is to find out the importance of each attribute by observing its mean values. The second part consist of the preference order opted by students via ranking each of the factors accordingly.
The third part depicts the relative influence, (the causation effects) of the factors on enrollment decisions. As all factors contributing more or less to the selection decisions, the study found multiple results in the analysis. The factor “Aspiration” got the highest rating mean score in the analysis which suggests that student’s desire and ambition to study at HEI’s contributes highly to the selection choice thus supporting the findings of (Chapman 1981; Carpenter et al 1987;
Ariffin et al 2008). On the other hand the rank order reveals that the students are very keen and more concerned about their career goals and employment prospects as reported by (Paulson 1981
Sevier 1998; Romana Garma et al 2003). That’s why in rank order most of the students preferred
Career as their decisive factor and most preferred one as well to get enrolled in HEI’s.
Meanwhile the MRA shows that three factors Facilities, Financial aid and Parents/Friends influence, found significant in predicting student’s enrollment decision. The factor “Facilities” is relatively more influential in determining student decision. So it suggests that institute’s providing better facilities and services infrastructure will more likely to effect on the student choice in selection of the institute. The financial aid (Merit based scholarships, Need based
Scholarships and Educational loan) also play a vital role in order to grab up the attention of students all over, as explained by (Litten 1982; Manski 1983; Jackson 1986).

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The study concludes that there isn’t a single factor that going into the mind of student when making decision choice. There are multiple variables or factors that are affecting students simultaneously, as this study suggests. The Objective of the study is not only to explore the factors influencing student’s attendance decision, but also to investigate those factors rather comprehensively by applying multiple statistical techniques in order to find out an association among them. The study found that Career is the most preferred factor as rank by most of the students, while addition to it three factors Facilities, Financial aid and Social influence found significantly related to student choice decision. The factor “facilities” found strong predictor of
Selection decisions of HEI’s.

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Murphy, P. E. (1981), “Consumer buying roles in college choice: Parents and students’ perceptions,” College and
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