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There have been many research studies on students’ satisfaction of services in universities in developed countries. However, students’ expectation and satisfaction of public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) with regard to service quality in Eastern Europe have been under-researched. Therefore, this study aims to offer an empirical examination of student satisfaction of the service quality of public and private HEIs in Albania by evaluating the gap between students’ expectation and perception and the effect of student satisfaction on retention in HEIs.Design/methodology/approachThe survey instrument used in this study was the student satisfaction inventory in the USA. Primary data were collected from a survey of students in two private and four public HEIs in Albania. A total of 554 valid responses were collected from the survey.FindingsThe findings suggested that there were performance gaps between public and private HEIs. Public universities performed well in terms of concern for the individual, campus support services, student-centeredness and instructional effectiveness. Private HEIs scored well in terms of concern for the individual, academic advising effectiveness, instructional effectiveness and safety and security (parking). There is a significant difference in students’ perception of the overall satisfaction of HEIs. Students’ overall satisfaction positively impacts their retention.Originality/valueOverall, this study provides valuable insights to private and public HEIs’ administrators regarding to student satisfaction and retention. The findings will have far-reaching managerial implications for all groups of stakeholders in terms of the service delivery by universities in Albania and Eastern Europe.
International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 14, 2021
Keywords: Developing countries; Service quality; Student satisfaction; Higher education institutions
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