Students as customers in higher education: reframing the debate

Melodi Guilbault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Even though marketing in higher education (HE) is well established, there is a continued debate about who the customer is, with many still not accepting that students should be viewed as customers in HE. The student as customer model has its opponents and proponents. This paper reframes the debate using the framework of market orientation, customer orientation, and service (including co-creation) and relationship marketing. Using newer conceptualizations of the role of customers, the paper recommends exploring how to respond to students as customers instead of continuing to deny that students are customers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-142
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marketing for Higher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Marketing


  • Higher education
  • marketing in higher education
  • marketing of higher education
  • students as customers
  • student–customer orientation


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