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An Assessment of Brand Equity and Its Effect on Intention of Advanced Level Students to Enrol in Medicine, Agriculture and Biological Science Degree Programmes Offered by State Universities

Abstract

Brands are fundamentally about experiences and relationships, and therefore, they form the prime basis of an institution’s connection with its stakeholders. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of customer-based brand equity in service sectors, specifically in higher education institutes. However, minimal studies have assessed the brand equity of degree programmes offered by public universities in Sri Lanka. Thus, from students’ perspective, the current study aims to assess the brand equity of selected degree programmes in the biological stream (Medicine, Agriculture, and Science) offered by different public universities in Sri Lanka. The study adopted a quantitative methodology, where data were collected using a pre-tested self-administered questionnaire. The target population was G.C.E. Advanced Level students in the biological stream living in Kandy, Badulla, Colombo, and Galle districts. A sample of 157 students was drawn using a convenient sampling technique. The data were analysed by a Friedman test, Spearman’s test, and panel order logistic regression with random effect. The findings revealed that the brand equity of the same degree programme differs when offered by different universities for all three selected degree programmes. The medicine degree programme offered by the University of Peradeniya scored the highest brand equity value among medicine degree programmes in Sri Lanka. With respect to agriculture degree programmes, the University of Peradeniya scored the highest brand equity value, while the University of Colombo scored the highest brand equity value for biological science degree programmes. Further, results indicated a significant positive (P<0.05) effect of brand awareness, perception and attitude, and brand reputation on the intention to join a degree programme for all three-degree programmes. Therefore, findings suggest that brand equity plays a significant role in degree programme selection. This study provides insights to stakeholders in higher education institutes, especially to help universities implement branding strategies to enhance the brand equity of degree programmes.

Keywords: Customer-Based Brand Equity, Public Universities, Brand Reputation, Perception and Attitude, Brand Awareness