Nadezda Rika, Jana Roze, Irina Sennikova


Because of increasing competition among Latvian higher education institutions (HEIs), the administrators of these institutions are becoming increasingly interested in understanding how their potential students choose their institution. Comprehensive knowledge of consumer behavior allows institutions to become more effective at making good strategic marketing decisions and to better respond to customers’ needs. The purpose of this study is to understand what factors affect the decision of secondary school leavers in choosing a particular higher education provider and the variables that might predict a student’s choice. The research is based on data collected by the means of a survey distributed among final year students of Latvian secondary schools, with 644 responses analyzed using Spearman correlation and stepwise regression analysis. Analysis of four major groups of factors: cultural, social, psychological, and organizational, revealed that psychological and organizational factors are the best predictors of the choice of HEI. These explained 48% of the variance of the dependent variable (R2 = 0.48; F (1; 641) = 293.46; p < 0.001). The results provide details of the factors with great importance to young people of Latvia in choosing their higher education provider. The HEI can use these factors for designing various student attraction strategies, and thus increase their market share and competitiveness.


Higher education, HEIs, students’ choice, Latvia

Full Text:



Academic information centre (2015). “Accredited programs and fields of study”, [01.10.2015], http://www.aic.lv/portal/aikna/akreditetie-studiju-virzieni-un-programmas

Al-Yousef, H. (2009). “They know nothing about university-neither of them went: The effect of parents' level of education on their involvement in their daughters' higher education choices”, A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 39(6), 783-798.

Ancheh, K. S. B., Krishnan, A. & Nurtjahja, O. (2007). “Evaluative criteria for selection of private universities and colleges in Malaysia”, Journal of International Management Studies, 2(1), 1-11.

Afful-Broni, A. & Noi-Okwei, C. (2010). “Factors influencing the choice of tertiary education in a Subsaharan African University”, Academic Leadership: The Online Journal, 8(2), 1-8.

Beneke, J. & Human, G. (2010). “Student recruitment marketing in South Africa–An exploratory study into the adoption of a relationship orientation”, African Journal of Business Management, 4(4), 435-447.

Bragg, S. (2007). “Student voice and governmentality: the production of enterprising subject”, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 28(3), 343-355.

Briggs, S. (2006). “An exploratory study of the factors influencing undergraduate student choice: the case of higher education in Scotland”, Studies in Higher Education, 31(6), 705-722.

Briggs, S. & Wilson, A. (2007). “Which university? A study of the influence of cost and information factors on Scottish undergraduate choice”, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 29(1), 57-72.

Ceja, M. (2004). “Chicana College Aspirations and the Role of Parents: Developing Educational Resiliency”, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 3(4), 338-362.

Ceja, M. (2006). “Understanding the role of parents and siblings as Information sources in the college choice process of Chicana students”, Journal of College Student Development, 47(1), 87-104.

Central statistical bureau (2013). “Population - key indicators”, [08.07.2013], http://www.csb.gov.lv/statistikas-temas/iedzivotaji-galvenie-raditaji-30260.html

Central statistical bureau (2015). “Educational institutions and number of students”, [01.10.2015], http://data.csb.gov.lv/pxweb/lv/Sociala/Sociala__ikgad__izgl/IZ0010.px/table/tableViewLayout1/?rxid=cdcb978c-22b0-416a-aacc-aa650d3e2ce0

Cubillo, J. M., Sánchez, J. & Cerviño, J. (2006). “International students' decision-making process”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 20(2), 101-115.

Datar, S. M., Garvin, D. A. & Cullen, P. G. (2010). Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, Harvard University Press, Boston, MA.

Dawes, P. L. & Brown, J. (2002). “Determinants of awareness, consideration, and choice set size in university choice”, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 12(1), 49-75.

Dawes, P. L. & Brown, J. (2005). “The Composition of Consideration and Choice Sets in Undergraduate University Choice: An Exploratory Study”, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 14(2), 37-59.

Domino, S., Libraire, T., Lutwiller, D., Superczynski, S. & Tian, R. (2006). “Higher education marketing concerns: factors influence students' choice of colleges”, The Business Review, 6(2), 101-111.

Ellis, N. & Moon, S. (1998). “Business and HE links: The search for meaningful relationships in the placement marketplace - part two”, Education & Training, 40(9), 390-397.

Gati, I. & Asher, I. (2001). “The PIC model for career decision making: Prescreening, in-depth exploration, and choice”, in T. L. Leong & A. Barak (Ed.), Contemporary models in vocational psycholog y: A volume in honor of Samuel H. Osipow, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 6-54.

Gati, I. & Tal, S. (2008). “Decision-making models and career guidance”, in J. A. Athanasou & R. Van Esbroeck (Ed.), International Handbook of Career Guidance, Sydney: Springer, 157-185.

Germeijs, V., Luyckx, K., Notelaers, Gl, Goossens, L., & Verschueren, K. (2012). “Choosing a Major in Higher Education: Profiles of Students’ Decision-Making Process”, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27(3), 229-239.

Goff, B., Patino, V. & Jackson, G. (2004). “Preferred information sources of high school students for community colleges and universities”, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 28(10), 795-803.

Govan, G. V., Patrick, S. & Yen, C. J. (2006). “How high school students construct decision making strategies for choosing colleges”, College and University, 81(3), 19-29.

Ho, H. F. & Hung, C. C. (2008). “Marketing mix formulation for higher education”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 22(4), 328-340.

Hossler, D. & Gallagher, K. (1987). “Studying student college choice: a three-phase model and the implications for the policymakers”, College and University, 2(3), 207-221.

Hossler, D., Schmidt, J. & Vesper, N. (1999). Going to College: How Social, Economic and Educational Factors Influence the Decisions Students Make, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hoyt, J. E. & Brown, A. B. (2003). “Identifying college choice factors to successfully market your institution”, College and University, 78(4), 3-10.

Ivy, J. (2001). “HEI image: a correspondence analysis approach”, International Journal of Educational Management, 15(6), 276-282.

Ivy, J. (2008). “A new higher education marketing mix: the 7Ps for MBA marketing”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 22(4), 288-299.

Judson, K. M., James, J. D. & Aurand, T. W. (2004). “Marketing the university to student athletes: Understanding university selection criteria”, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 14(1), 23-40.

Kim, D. (2004). “The effect of financial aid on students’ college choice: Differences by racial groups”, Research in Higher Education, 45(1), 43-70.

Kittle, B. & Ciba, D. (2001). “Using College Web Sites for Student Recruitment: A Relationship Marketing Study”, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 11(3), 17-37.

Kotler, P., & Fox, K. (1995). Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions, (2nd ed.), New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Kusumawati, A., Yanamandram, V. K. & Perera, N. (2010). “University marketing and consumer behavior concerns: the shifting preference of university selection criteria in Indonesia”, 2010 Asian Studies Association of Australia 18th Biennial Conference, 1-16.

Litten, L. (1980). “Marketing higher education: Benefits and risks for the american academic system”, Journal of higher education, 51(1), 40-59.

Ministry of Education and Science (2015). “Overview of the Latvian higher education in 2014. Key statistics”, 93p.

Moogan, Y. J. & Baron, S. (2003). “An analysis of student characteristics within the student decision making process”, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 27(3), 271-287.

Nicholls, J., Harris, J., Morgan, E., Clarke, K. & Sims, D. (1995). “Marketing higher education: The MBA experience”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 9(2), 31-38.

Nora, A. (2004). “The Role of habitus and cultural capital in choosing a college, transitioning from high school to higher education, and persisting in college among minority and nonminority students”, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 3(2), 180-208.

Paulsen, M. B. (1990). “College Choice: Understanding Student Enrollment Behavior”, ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 6, Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

Pimpa, N. & Suwannapirom, S. (2008). “Thai students’ choices of vocational education: marketing factors and reference groups”, Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 7(2), 99-107.

Quigley, C. J., Bingham, F. G., Notarantonio, E. M. & Murray, K. (2000). 'The Impact Discounts and the Price-Quality Effect Have on the Choice of an Institution of Higher Education”, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 9(2), 1-17.

Raposo, M. & Alves, H. (2007). “A model of university choice: An exploratory approach”, Proceedings of the 29th Annual EAIR Forum: In search of Identity: Dilemmas in Higher Education”, 26-29 August 2007, Innsbruck, Austria.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Tapp, A., Hicks, K. & Stone, M. (2004). “Direct and database marketing and customer relationship management in recruiting students for higher education”, International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 9(4), 335-345.

Tavares, D., Tavares, O., Justino, E. & Amaral, A. (2008). “Students' preferences and needs in Portuguese higher education”, European Journal of Education, 43(1), 107-122.

Veloutsou, C., Lewis, J. W. & Paton, R. A. (2004). “University selection: information requirements and importance”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 18(2/3), 160-171.

Wagner, K. & Fard, P. Y. (2009). "Factors Influencing Malaysian Students’ Intention to Study at a HEI”, Chinese American Scholars Association, New York, New York, USA, Retrieved 30 September, 2015, from http://www.g-casa.com/PDF/malaysia/Wagner-Fard.pdf

Wiese, M., van Heerden, N., Jordaan, Y. & North, E. (2009), “A marketing perspective on choice factors considered by South African first-year students in selecting a HEI”, Southern African Business Review, 13(1), 39-60.

Yamamoto, G. T. (2006), “University evaluation-selection: a Turkish case”, The International Journal of Educational Management, 20(7), 559-569.

Yokoyama, K. (2008), “Neo-liberal governmentality in the English and Japanese higher education”, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 18(3), 231-247.

Yost, M.; Tucker, S. (1995), “Tangible evidence in marketing a service: The value of a campus visit in choosing a college”, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 6(1), 47-67.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12955/cbup.v4.790


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN 1805-997X, Online ISSN 1805-9961

(c) 2016 Central Bohemia University