What price university education? : Evidence from a conjoint analysis
The changes in funding for undergraduate courses in England mean that universities are re-assessing their product offerings to prospective students. In order to make effective strategic decisions, universities can make use of consumer behaviour research to understand better the impact of higher fees on how students weigh up their options for university. This study uses conjoint analysis to simulate students’ choices in applying for university. A range of criteria that affect university/course choice is selected, based on extant literature on students’ choice of university. The results suggest that course and university reputation are much more important than fees but there are differences in patterns of utility across various segments of the student population. Findings suggest that whilst fees are not as important as course or university reputation, students from backgrounds where neither parent attended university experience more disutility from higher prices. The implications for the marketing of higher education institutions and the pricing of degree courses in the era full fees are discussed.