• A Study of the Expectation vs Experience of International Students at UK Universities

      Rajkhowa, Gautam; Adelekan, Temitope A. (University of Chester, 2014-09)
      The background of higher education has been changing over the past two decades. In 2009, the estimated number of students registered outside their country of citizenship was almost 3.7 million (OECD, 2011). The international activities of universities in the United Kingdom (UK) have increased dramatically in volume, scope and complexity over the last decade. In addition, the knowledge of risen tuition fees, university funding cuts and doubts of declining student numbers has all contributed to the change. Therefore, achieving a sustainable competitive advantage in the higher education sector is important and at the forefront of many universities. In response, an “action research” method is agreed primarily using an adapted SERVQUAL instrument to examine expectations and experience of service quality among a sample of postgraduate international students at four leading UK universities. Study into service quality in a higher educational environment is insufficient, and where studies have been undertaken, very little has been done among postgraduates. The research findings suggest that the instrument utilised is suitable in a postgraduate context, and the statements load on the adapted SERVQUAL dimensions of Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985, 1988). In an attempt to improve service quality at UK universities and to add to the knowledge base, several recommendations are obtained, and some trend for future research is suggested.