Factors influencing students’ choice of universities in two selected universities: South Eastern Kenya university and University of Nairobi, Kenya
Mulonzi, Jacqueline Mbatha
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University education is one of the key drivers of economic, social and political development of the world hence its increase in demand. Universities are faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining students. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that influence students’ choice of universities at South Eastern Kenya University and University of Nairobi. The objective of the study was so to determine: the extent to which accessibility to universities, university’s flexibility in fee payment, marketing strategies and its geographical location influence students’ choice of University of Nairobi and South Eastern Kenya University. Descriptive survey research design was employed in the study of 2210 students from both University of Nairobi and South Eastern Kenya University. Among undergraduate students in their first year of study, 385 respondents were sampled randomly. Using questionnaires administered to them, data was collected to determine those factors that influenced their choice for the universities. Quantitative data was analyzed using frequency counts and percentages while qualitative data was analyzed by tallying the number of similar responses. Results of data were presented using frequency distribution tables. The study established that accessibility to an institution was the most influential factor students considered while choosing the university for student with 70 percent non-financial accessibility. University reputation which was made by the specialized programmes a university offered and employing marketing strategies to make it famous was rated second in preference. Flexibility in fee payment had a lesser influence on students’ choice of the universities. The study therefore concluded that students require easily accessible universities whose information can be obtained through proper marketing before making a choice for it. The study recommended the need to increase understanding of the importance of employing various strategies to attract students to a university. Secondly, the personnel working on students during selection process ought to know the process of selection and the influential factors to students’ choice of universities and courses. Thirdly, Universities need to guide and inform career counselors in primary and secondary schools on specialized programmes to particular universities, structure of time of study, flexibility in fee payment among others which in turn influence their choices. The factors studied had a strong implication of attracting more students to the universities and reducing inter-university transfers.