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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Integrated Marketing and Nontraditional Student Enrollment Decision Making
by Culliver, Katherine, Ed.D., University of La Verne, 2015, 257; 10003189
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between university advertising and marketing procedures and techniques and the personal characteristics and motivations of nontraditional students who decide to enroll in bachelor’s degree programs. The overarching goal was to explore the experiences and decision-making processes of these students in an effort to address the lack of data guiding college and university marketing behavior toward this unique population. This project examined the decision making of college-bound individuals through the lens of electronic marketing, traditional marketing, and word-of-mouth marketing methods.

Methodology. An exploratory quantitative research design was used. A survey was designed using a combination of previously validated instruments and questions developed by the researcher to measure the influence of marketing on nontraditional undergraduate students’ enrollment decisions. The sample consisted of nontraditional students who had recently enrolled in a degree/accelerated degree program in one of four colleges/universities in Southern California and had not yet completed a full semester/quarter of coursework.

Findings. A significant difference was found in the amount of marking exposure among nontraditional students by medium. The analysis indicated a significant difference in the influence of marketing across racial and gender groups that also varied by medium. Females were significantly more influenced by the universities’ websites, for example. Males were significantly more influenced by word-of-mouth marketing from family members, and females were more likely to seek out friends than family for information. Also, those belonging to the “other” ethnic subgroup were significantly more influenced by online ads than their African American, Hispanic, or Caucasian counterparts.

Conclusions. Several significant factors were identified that influence the decision-making process of nontraditional students who are preparing to enroll in an institution of higher education. Exposure to relevant marketing materials varies across a number of variables, and the influence of word-of-mouth marketing may be more important to this population when compared to traditional undergraduates.

Recommendations. Further research is needed to inform the marketing methodologies in which institutions of higher education engage when reaching out to nontraditional students. This population’s motivations for enrolling are unique and, when combined with personal sociodemographic variables, represent an important challenge for university marketing professionals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harvey, Thomas
Commitee: Johnson, Jalin, Lee, Samuel
School: University of La Verne
Department: Education and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Marketing, Communication, Adult education
Keywords: Communication, Decision making, Enrollment, Intergrated marketing comunication, Marketing, Nontraditional student
Publication Number: 10003189
ISBN: 978-1-339-42472-9
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