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R. Currás1, M.G. Gallarza2, D. Servera1, T. Fayos2, F. Arteaga1

1Universidad Católica de Valencia (SPAIN)
2Universitat de Valencia (SPAIN)
Within the European Space for Higher Education, Universities have become a highly competitive market, where Erasmus students are highly involved in their choices, where they trade off benefits and costs. This paper aims to understand the factors that influence Erasmus student’s value perception as a trade-off between costs and benefits in their choices of this academic experience. Results on a sample of 200 students form 20 Universities shows the role of functional, social and emotional values along with costs of time and effort in the formation of the value of an Erasmus experience.

Rationale and Scope:
For Higher Education Institutions (HEI) there is a need of incorporating a better orientation to the market, seeking to obtain competitive advantages over the competitors, so it is fundamental to analyse student’s expectations of value to provoke fruitful experiences for students.
For students, choosing and experiencing HE services is complex and can be understood as high involvement behaviour. As the final outcome from their decision comes long time after their choice, the level of expectations is important to understand the satisfaction derived after their degrees. Accordingly, when deciding to start an Erasmus exchange, students are involved in a decision, with real costs and expected benefits. Nevertheless, justification for this interest in the Erasmus experience lays also on students’ multidimensional experience.
Consensus on the multidimensionality of value is an area of agreement in the research into value. However there is no consensus over the number of dimensions or the criteria for classifying them. Moreover, the range and variety of value dimensions referred in the literature is very wide. The contribution made by our approach is to adapt [1]’ work developing and testing a multidimensional value scale in search of the cultural and social peculiarities of the ERASMUS experience.

Objective and Method:
We aim at understanding the factors that influence ERASMUS student’s value perception as a trade-off between costs and benefits found, when deciding to do an international program in HEIs. By means of the results of a survey, conducted among a sample of 200 ERASMUS students, from different countries and Universities, the paper investigates the role of functional, social and emotional values [2], along with costs of time and effort in the formation of customer value.

We will validate a value scale that investigates the multidimensionality of the experience of being an Erasmus student through the concept of value, known as a trade-off between benefits and costs. An on line questionnaire has been built for students to express their attitudes towards their future Erasmus experience. The results are expected to show different scores for different benefits, applying a PCA for predicting the way indicators are grouped, and thus how Erasmus students perceive their multifaceted experience.

[1] Ledden L., Kalafatis, S.P. and Samouel, P. (2007). The Relationship between Personal Values and Perceived Value of Education. Journal of Business Research 60, pp. 965–974.
[2] Holbrook, M.B. (1999). Introduction to Consumer Value Conclusions and Consumer Value in A Framework For Analysis and Research, ed. Morris B. Holbrook, London, UK: Routledge, pp. 1-28 and pp. 183-197.