Motivation factors in students decision to study at international branch campuses in Malaysia
Buchanan, Frederick Robert
Zamberi syed, Ahmad
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Transnational education is becoming a popular way for students to earn an attractive credential from a foreign university in emerging education hubs in Asia. In an era where students are staying closer to home for their education, this paper offers insights into the motivations or choice criteria used by students currently enrolled at international branch campuses in Malaysia. Findings from a survey of 218 undergraduate and postgraduate students plus semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with 18 students indicated that the motivations for studying at an international branch campus are a function of the combined pull–push factors (i.e. institution and academic reputations, marketability of the degree, low tuition fees compared to home institution, low cost of living, safe country for study, similarity of education systems as well as cultural proximity). The study proposes a model of student destination and institution choices based primarily upon ‘push’ factors which apply to international branch campuses in Malaysia. The success of a given university operating in a foreign market is shown to be influenced greatly by the destination's costs, attractiveness attributes, and locational convenience for students. The findings of the paper are especially relevant to developing market policy-makers of higher education in crafting specific management and marketing strategies targeting students to study at international branch campuses, particularly in Malaysia.