Factors influencing international students’ decisions in choosing a Cyprus higher education institution: implications for recruitment and marketing

Americanos, Adonis (2011) Factors influencing international students’ decisions in choosing a Cyprus higher education institution: implications for recruitment and marketing. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This research project was the first of its kind to be carried out for any of Cyprus’s Higher Educational Institution (HEI). Its purpose was to determine and study the factors influencing international students’ decisions in choosing a Cyprus HEI, namely Americanos College (AC). It therefore establishes and contributes to the understanding of the factors that ‘pull’ students to Cyprus and its HEIs. Based on the findings, the primary research aim was to suggest changes to the current recruitment and marketing policies and practices of AC, in order to increase AC’s international student population. In meeting the research objectives, this study employed the exploratory and intrinsic case study research method. The study involved the gathering of a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques (DCTs) and this methodological triangulation enhanced the validity and reliability of this study. More specifically, it entailed an extensive literature review on students’ choice and decision-making in higher education, current trends in the international educational scene as well as in the higher education marketing. Furthermore, in the absence of any local empirical research (except for a few relevant questions of the study), this project reviewed the international empirical research in-depth on relevant aspects, such as study abroad, HEI choice and decision-making. Moreover, this research employed a survey questionnaire on a sample of 509 AC international students and five in-depth interviews of AC’s admissions staff members. In addition, it entailed observations by the researcher of the admissions department setting in order to further support the data collected from the other three DCTs. The key findings of this research suggest that the first reason international students choose Cyprus’s HEIs is the relatively low tuition fees (TF) charged as compared to other more well-known destinations. Another reason for their choice is the easy admissions and immigration procedures. In addition, the findings clearly show that the HEIs’ agents are by far the most influential persons in the decision-making process of international students prior to their coming to Cyprus. Furthermore this suggests that the role of current students and alumni in the recruitment of students is very important and this is directly linked with a strong word of mouth (WOM) effect. Finally, the research findings helped in developing more effective international student recruitment and marketing practices. The practical and straight-forward recommendations will undoubtedly change AC’s recruitment and marketing practices, accommodating among other things, the students’ views on a number of important issues. This in practice means that AC can now adopt a more targeted approach in recruiting international students.

Item Type:Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas:Institute for Work Based Learning
Theses
ID Code:9106
Deposited On:18 May 2012 10:31
Last Modified:19 Jul 2014 22:39

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