In the education industry, it is critical to understand the expectations of students concerning providing the best educational experience. Thus, in higher education institutions (HEI) the adoption of customer-oriented approaches in the management practice is widespread. The customer-oriented approach regarding students as customers has been discussed in academic literature from several perspectives. However, it has been rarely studied from the point of view of comparing public and private universities. The presented study tried to apply a student-customer orientation questionnaire (SCOQ) to investigate differences between student expectations of their educational experience in public vs. private universities. The sample consisted of 238 undergraduate students in Indonesia’s higher education institutions. The study found interesting differences within the student-customer-oriented variables between university types in terms of graduation, curriculum design, communication with service staff, classroom studies, individual studies and course design.