UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Threshold pricing in University continuing education Lamoureux, Marvin Eugene


Three pricing methods: multi-stage, economic and threshold were reviewed relative to continuing education. Because threshold pricing's scope for course price development was so broad, it became this study's purpose to determine if such a pricing method could be applied to continuing education. Three studies were conducted using University of British Columbia Continuing Education data. The first study analyzed 937 courses which either failed to materialize or were conducted. Mean course prices between both groups were not significant. Course price and length interaction as each affected enrolment were also analyzed. Course length, not price, significantly affected enrolment. Centre course prices were therefore "acceptable" to the Centre's participants. A second study analyzed 119 general and professional education course participants to determine threshold pricing attitudes. Although course price thresholds existed for both groups, it was evident that each represented a distinct market. Significant variations in socioeconomic variables and pricing attitudes occurred. A more detailed study was then conducted using another 242 professional education course participants. Hypotheses based on threshold pricing theory were tested. Significant differences existed between the mean price of courses and participant determined upper and lower bound prices. Positive and significant correlations occurred for selected "wealth" and "continuing education commitment" variables, as both variables related to these upper and lower bound prices. Price and imputed quality attitudes about Centre courses were evident with only 8.5% of the participants wanting free courses. Classification of the 242 participants into three participant-determined price-oriented sub-markets ("top dollar", average, low) was statistically accomplished but proved inadequate for marketing decision purposes. All three studies defined beneficial uses for both market segmentation and threshold pricing as each relates to continuing education. It was suggested, however, that further studies be conducted to broaden the scope of these decision techniques.

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