AJIBM  Vol.12 No.1 , January 2022
Higher Education Service Quality for International Students: A Literature Review
Abstract: The paper addresses higher education (HE) service quality in China with respect to higher public education institution using the HESQUAL model. It has identified literature sources of five dimensions in the HESQUAL model and presented the HESQUAL model with 48 attributes in five dimensions based on the foregoing research. The researcher concluded the paper by investigating that for decades China’s research on service quality of international students and based on the analysis of literature review from the research on service quality of international students. The researcher has found that the theoretical research was more conducted in the higher education sector than empirical research, and there were gaps between service quality and the perceptions of international students.

1. Introduction

Higher Education (HE) service quality is getting more and more attention by researchers in China, but fewer Chinese researchers conduct the kind of service quality research in the Chinese atmosphere (Hong, 2018). (Mortari & Ubbiali, 2021) put that, “there are some instruments to assess the service quality in higher education”. The purpose of the paper is to assess the quality of service for Higher Public Education Institution using the HESQUAL model, developed by (Teeroovengadum et al., 2016). Service quality in the higher education sector is increasingly recognized as a research field, and this puts a greater emphasis on meeting the expectations and needs of its participating customers who are the students (Chen & Chen, 2010). Most studies consider students as primary customers (e.g., Bhuian, 2016).

2. HESQUAL Model in Higher Education Sector

(Icli & Anil, 2014) proposed a new scale, called HEDQUAL (Higher Education Quality), which has only been assessed in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes. As key dimensions, the scale focuses on academic quality, administrative service quality, library service quality, quality of providing career opportunities and supporting services (Icli & Anil, 2014). In the quest for international ranking and accreditation in higher education, quality must remain at the centre of the future research agenda. Future studies should delve into the notion of quality in education from a multidimensional model that incorporates quality, access, investment and relevance (Blanco-Ramírez & Berger, 2014). Higher educational institutions, like any other service establishment, should strive to achieve excellence in service quality (Yousapronpaiboon, 2014) (Table 1 is HESQUAL model and Table 2 is the five dimensions in HESQUAL model).

Table 1. HESQUAL model.

Table 2. The literature sources of five dimensions in HESQUAL model.

Source: Adapted from (Teeroovengadum, 2016).

Table 3. HESQUAL model with 48 attributes in five dimensions.

Table 4. Past researches for service quality in higher education.

3. The Development of Attributes in HESQUAL Model

The researcher presented HESQUAL model with 48 attributes in five dimensions based on the foregoing research as in Table 3.

4. Past Researches Concerning HESQUAL Model

Based on the foregoing cases of different countries using HESQUAL in analyzing the results between customers’ expectations and perceptions, the researcher will produce a table containing the dimensions of service quality in higher education as in Table 4.

5. Conclusion and Future Research

For decades, China’s research on service quality of international students has been based on the analysis of literature review, and the researcher has found that the theoretical research was more conducted in the higher education sector than empirical research. Also, there were gaps between service quality and the perceptions of international students.

A large number of empirical studies have shown that the evaluation of customer (student) satisfaction should be based on the characteristics of the organization and customers, and it is difficult to find a unified evaluation scale.

Compared with the quality of higher education services, relevant research on the quality of education services for international students at home and abroad is not sufficient. Whether there are considerable deficiencies in both theoretical and empirical research, China’s international student service quality management research has paid too much attention to the research of theories but ignored the empirical research. The specific performances are as follows: 1) the lack of a united definition of international students education services; 2) the relevant research on the quality of international students’ educational services is not sufficient, and the quality characteristics of the education services of international students in China are not clear; 3) due to the limitations of the extant relevant research on the small sample, with the lack of representativeness of students’ source, the small scope of the investigation, and an insufficient test of validity; 4) the lack of research on student satisfaction and the lack of research on the cross-culture factors, the different learning objectives of international students, the perception of quality service, and the influence of satisfaction and loyalty; 5) there has been little research on the service quality concerning international students and evaluation systems in Guizhou province, China (Zhang, 2018; Zhang et al., 2007; Song, 2018; Yang, 2009; Yun & Chen, 2019).

For future research concerning service quality for the perceptions of international students, the research should be paid more attention to the empirical research more than theory research, and the respondents should include higher education sectors both in the public and private (Ren et al., 2019).


Sincere appreciations are to the advisor, Dr. Sarana Photchanachan, for the helpful guidance for me to complete the paper.

Cite this paper: Luo, J. and Photchanachan, S. (2022) Higher Education Service Quality for International Students: A Literature Review. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 12, 1-9. doi: 10.4236/ajibm.2022.121001.

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