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Measuring student satisfaction with the service processes of selected student educational support services at Everett Community College

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  • The era of "customer satisfaction" brings students to colleges who are increasingly identifying themselves as customers. Competition among a growing number of institutions and learning organizations is sharpening the desire of institutions to deliver high quality service in order to attract and retain students. Some examples of interactions where service quality may affect satisfaction are accessible and prompt service, knowledgeable assistance and personal attention. The use of the SERVQUAL survey instrument offers a fruitful opportunity for student services managers to assess student satisfaction with service quality. Insofar as satisfaction may affect student desire to attend, retention, and word-of mouth recommendations, colleges should include service quality assessment in their efforts to be accountable for the effectiveness of their services. This study was conducted at a suburban community college, using a cluster sampling methodology, focused on students in college transfer and professional/technical courses. Student expectations and perceptions of service quality in Registration, Financial Aid, Counseling, Career Center and Library services were probed. Data analysis yielded discernible patterns in student satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Students placed less emphasis on the tangible aspects of service quality, such as the appearance of facilities and brochures, and more emphasis on aspects that provide them with reliable services and demonstrate attention to their personal needs. The quality of some Financial Aid services, as well as office hours among all five services, were identified as needing further examination. Some significant differences between male and female respondents, and between Caucasians and Students of Color were found. Because SERVQUAL offers a targeted method of identifying areas that can improve student satisfaction, this strategy offers some direct and perhaps cost-effective ways of implementing action as a result of assessment research. This may make it appealing to other community colleges. Implementation by other community colleges would be helpful in building a database and reference points about student satisfaction with service quality.
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