Kashif Hussain* and Cem Birol
Near East University, Institute of Educational Sciences
Problem Statement: Higher education is the fastest growing service industry on the globe which needs appropriate methods and strategies to meet the current students’ needs, keep them happy, and attract more recruitments. Recent research emphasizes how to improve service quality for student satisfaction, however, there is still no consensus on how best to measure and manage quality within higher education institutions.
Purpose of the Study: The aim of this study is to assess the perceived service quality of students and to determine the student satisfaction level in higher education. It attempts to diagnose the applicability of two different, non-academic (SERVQUAL) and academic (SEEQ), service quality frameworks to students of higher education. In the present study, the assessment of non-academic service quality is defined as ‘the services provided by administrative units such as registrar, library, faculty/school offices, rector office, dormitories, sports and health centre etc.’ and the assessment of academic service quality is defined as ‘the services provided by instructors including courses and content’ in a university setting.
Methods: The current study is based on three measures: service quality (non-academic services), instructional quality (academic services), and student satisfaction. The sample of the study consists of 330 students studying at a private university in North Cyprus. Descriptive analysis such as means, standard deviation, and frequencies were calculated. Reliability analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and regression analysis were performed.
Findings and Results: The nature of service quality measurement instruments in this study is found to be uni-dimensional for both academic and non-academic services in higher education. Tangibles and empathy dimensions of non-academic service quality are found to be the significant predictor of student satisfaction, whereas, instructors’ enthusiasm, course organization, breadth of coverage, group interaction, individual rapport, and assignments dimensions of academic service quality are found to be the significant predictor of student satisfaction. The remaining dimensions of non-academic and academic service quality found to be insignificant in predicting student satisfaction and need priority to better influence students.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Service quality and student satisfaction are important factors in student retention; it is important that universities measure service quality and use the tools of continuous improvement. Identifying student perceptions of service quality in higher education allows management to better tailor marketing efforts to ensure that student needs are met. It is recommended by this study that higher education authorities should maintain their level of service delivery to keep the students satisfied.
Keywords: Higher education services, non-academic, academic, service quality, student satisfaction.