Factors influencing students’ choice of public universities in western Kenya region. A case of university of Nairobi and Kibabii university

University choice is a complicated process and involves a wide range of individuals including high school students, family members, university administrators and public policy makers. Understanding why and how potential candidates seek University education and determining which factors affect their choices is an important area of study. The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors influencing student’s choice of Public Universities in western Kenya region. A case of University of Nairobi and Kibabii University. The following objective guided the study; to examine how institution characteristics influences students’ choice of Public Universities; to determine how the source of information influence students’ choice of Public Universities; to determine the extent to which decision makers influence student’s choice of the Public Universities and to examine how students qualification influences students’ choice of Public Universities in western Kenya region. The study adapted a descriptive survey research design. The study target population was 90,200 respondents representing the total number of students and University administrators from University of Nairobi and Kibabii University. A sample size of 348 respondents from University of Nairobi and Kibabii University was used in the study. Census sampling was used to select the 10 University administrators in charge of enrollment. The study adapted a systematic random sampling technique to select the sample population of students by picking the tenth student from their respective learning programmes using the admission lists for students. Questionnaires and interview schedule was used to collect data. A pilot study was done in the neighboring Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. To ascertain the reliability of the instruments, test-retest method was employed. Frequency tables and percentages were used to analyse the collected data and the information in tables were explained to enhance interpretation of the data. Results were interpreted and required recommendations made at the end of the study. It was found that financial aid from family members or guardian, Higher Education Loans Board and Constituency development fund was important to many students since some students were able to finance themselves, advertisement played an important role in ensuring information about the Institution is widely spread to prospective students Parents were found to be the most influencers, most students met the minimum entry requirements for the programmes they were pursuing. Recommendations for the study were first, the Government should put up measure in ensuring more financial aid from the Higher Education Loans Board and Constituency development fund is being allocated to the needy students and secondly, the University advertisement department should come up with more marketing strategies that could be ideal to all stakeholders since most of the prospective students were not familiar with the Internet and website