Assessing the Influence of Advertising on Student Enrolment in Private Tertiary Institutions in Ghana


  • Bede Akorige Atarah Purdue University
  • Augustine Awuah Peprah The Business School Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology



Advertising, Student Enrolment, Private Tertiary Institutions


AbstractPrivate tertiary institutions have increasingly advertised their products in recent years to the general public in Ghana through various media. The desire to find out whether these institutions just copy other business entities blindly or that advertising actually helps in increasing their enrolments led to this study. The main aim of the study was to find out if advertising had an influence on students’ enrolment decision in private tertiary institutions. Two private universities were selected and all the students along with the admission/marketing officers of the institutions were targeted. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the students and unstructured interviews were organised to gather data from the admission/marketing officers. Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. The results showed that advertising in addition to serving as a source of information to students also influenced the enrolment decision of some students. There were however other factors that influenced the enrolment decision of students such as family, friends, current students, etc that could be exploited by these institutions to their advantage.



Akanbi, P. A. and Adeyeye, T. C. (2011). The Association between Advertising and Sales Volume: A Case Study of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences (JETEMS) volume 2 (2) pp: 117-123.

Akintoye, I. R. (2008). Optimising Output from Tertiary Educational Institutions Via Adequate Funding: A Lesson from Nigeria. International Research Journal of Finance and Economics ISSN 1450-2887 Issue 14: pp: 359-368.

Al-Fattal, A. (2010). Understanding Student Choice of University and Marketing Strategies in Syrian Private Higher Education. Thesis, (PhD). University of Leeds.

Ayanwale, A. B; Alimi, T and Ayanbimipe, M. A. (2005). The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Brand Preference. Journal of Social Science, volume 10(1): pp: 9-16.

Beneke, J.H. ( 2011). Marketing the Institution to Prospective Students – A Review of Brand (Reputation) Management in Higher Education. International Journal of Business and Management Vol. 6, No. 1: pp: 29-44.

Benjamin, S. J., Marathamuthu, M. S., Muthaiyah, S. and Raman, M.(2011). Affordability of private tertiary education: a Malaysian study. International Journal of Social Economics Vol.38 No. 4, pp. 382-406.

Blackwell, R., Miniard, P., & Engel, J. (2001), Consumer Behavior. 9th Ed., Ft. Worth, Texas: Harcourt College Publishers.

Boone, L.E. and Kurtz, D. L. (2001). Contemporary Marketing, 10th edition, Southwestern, Thompson Learning.

Brown, J. H. and Oplatka, I. (2006). Universities in a competitive global marketplace: A systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol 19, No 4, pp 316-338.

Centre for Public Policy Studies (2005). “Achieving Higher Performance in Tertiary Education”, (¼6&ddID¼354), (accessed 30th October 2011).

Choi, K., Raley, K. , Muller, C., & Riegle-Crumb, C. (2005), The influence of course mates’ parent education attainment on four year college enrolment, the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 12/08/2005, Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA. Available online at:

Corwin, Z. & Tierney, W. (2007) Getting there - and beyond: building a culture of college-going in high schools, Centre of Higher Education and Policy Analysis, University of Southern California: California, available online at: (accessed 30/10/2011)

Drummond, G. (2004) Consumer confusion: reduction strategies in higher education,

International Journal of Educational Management, 18(5), 317-323.

Dunn, G . M., Herbertr, A. & Brownc, . M. (1978). Physiology of denitrifying bacteria from tidal mudflats in the River Tay. In Physiology and Behauiour of Marine Organisms, pp. 135-140.

Education Division, Center for the Study of HigherEducation, the University of Melbourne: Melbourne, available online at:, (accessed on 24th June 2011).

Engel, J.F., Warshaw, M.R. and Kinnear, T. (1994), Promotional Strategy: Managing the Marketing Communications Process, 8th ed., Irwin, Burr Ridge, IL.

Evans, I. (1995) Marketing for Schools, London: Cassell

Foskett, N., Dyke, M., & Maringe, F. (2003), The influence of the school on the decision to participate in learning post-16, CEG & School of Education University of Southampton, UK, available online at: ( accessed on 28/3/2011).

Hesketh, A. & Knight, P. (1999) Postgraduates' choice of programme: helping universities to market and postgraduates to choose, Studies in Higher Education, 24(2), 151-163

Hossler, D., Bean, J. P., & Associates (1990). The strategic management of college enrolments. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, Inc.

International Conference, Montreal, 31st October-2nd November, 2000, ( (accessed November 21, 2011).

James, R., Baldwin, G., & McInnis, C. (1999), Which university? factors influencing the choice of prospective undergraduates, Evaluations and Investigations Programme, Higher

Jansen, I. and Brenn‐White, M. (2011). Overview of Current Marketing Initiatives by Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and National Agencies within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), Report prepared for IPN meeting in Brussels.

Jennifer, L. M. (1998), (1998). Communicating to Farmers about Skin Cancer: The Behavioral Adaptation Model. Human Communication Research. 24, 386-409

Kitchen, P.J. (2003). Critical times; an integrated marketing communication perspective. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Business Economics, Management and Marketing, Athens.

Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2008) Principles of Marketing. 12th Ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Kotler, P., & Fox, K. (1995) Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions, 2nd Ed.,

Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2009), Marketing Management, 13th edition. New jersey: Pearson Education,Inc.

Litten, L. (1982) Different strokes in the applicant pool: some refinements in a model of student college choice, Journal of Higher Education, 53(4), 383-402.

MacDermott, K., Conn, P., & Owen, J. (1987) The influence of parental education level on college education choice, Journal of College Admission, 115, 3-10.

Menon, M. (2004) Information search as an indication of rationality in student choice of higher education, Education Economics, 12(3), 267-283.

Messah, O. B. and Immaculate,M. J. N.(2011). Effect of Selected Marketing Communication Tools on Student Enrolment in Private Universities in Kenya. European Journal of Business and Management, Volume 3, No.3, pp. 172-205.

Ming, J. S. K. (2010). Institutional Factors Influencing Students’ College Choice Decision in Malaysia: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 3 pp.53-58.

Morden A.R. 1991. Elements of Marketing. London: D.P. Publication Ltd

Muller, A. (2009) Elite destinations: pathways to attending an Ivy League university,

British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30(1), 15-27.

Nan, X. and Faber, R. J. (2004). “Advertising theory: Reconceptualizing the building blocks”, ( (accessed 7th November, 2011).

Palmer, A. (2001) Principles of Services Marketing (3rd Ed.), London: McGraw-Hill.

Pasternak, R. (2005). Choice of institution of higher education and academic expectations: the impact of cost-benefit factors. Teaching in Higher Education, 10(2), 189-201.

Patrinos, H. (2000). “The global market for education”, paper presented at the AUCC

Peters, T. & Austin, N. (1985) A Passion for Excellence : the Leadership Difference, New York: Random House.

Pimpa, N. (2005) A family affair: the effect of family on Thai students' choices of international education, Higher Education: the International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 49(4), 431-448.

Richards, J. I., & Curran, C. M. (2002). Oracles on “advertising”: Searching for a definition. Journal of Advertising, 31(2), 63-77

Roderick, M., Nagaoka, J., Coca, V., Moeller, E., Roddie, K., Gilliam J., & Patton, D.(2008), From high school to the future: potholes on the road to college, Consortium on Chicago School Research, the University of Chicago, Chicago

Starch, D. (1923). Principles of Advertising. Chicago, IL: A.W. Shaw.

Taylor, M. (1992) Post-16 options: young people's awareness, attitudes, intentions and

influences on their choice, Research Papers in Education, 7(3), 301-335.

Taylor, B., Kermode, S & Roberts, K. ( 2007). Research in nursing and health care: evidence for practice, 3rd edn, Thompson, Australia.

Van Dam, Y. (1997) Needs and Motives: An integration of theories with implications for green consumption. The 26th EMAC Conference: Marketing: Progress, Prospects, & Perspectives, 20th-23rd May 1997, Warwick Business School, Warwick.