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Understanding student satisfaction and loyalty in the UAE HE sector

Cedwyn Fernandes (Business School, Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Kieran Ross (Business School, Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Mohammad Meraj (Business School, Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 9 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to verify and estimate the impact of the antecedents of Programme satisfaction and to explore its link with student loyalty in the higher education (HE) sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


A Programme Experience Questionnaire (PEQ) was developed, based on the National Student Survey (NSS), which surveyed 187 graduates at a British university based in the UAE. Cronbach alpha tests were conducted to test the reliability of the variables and correlation and regression analysis were used to estimate the relationship and significance of the variables.


Teaching quality and variables directly associated with the students’ programme of study had the most significant impact on student satisfaction; thus emphasizing the need for recruitment and development of high quality academic faculty members. Academic feedback, library and IT resources did not have a significant impact. The link between Programme satisfaction and satisfaction with non‐academic services and facilities had a positive impact on student loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

In the competitive UAE HE sector, it is important to identify the antecedents and their variable impact on student satisfaction with their programme and its impact on loyalty. A comparison of results of the PEQ across a number of years and across other universities within the UAE, would help validate the results obtained in this paper.


Studies of this kind, whilst in their infancy within the UAE context, are important given the UAE HE market is attracting more entrants and becoming very competitive. The results may provide valuable insights for universities in developing appropriate strategies to improve student satisfaction and thus enhance their competitiveness.



Fernandes, C., Ross, K. and Meraj, M. (2013), "Understanding student satisfaction and loyalty in the UAE HE sector", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 613-630.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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