The Impact of Learning Communities on Freshman Retention

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Oscar Flores Claudia Sanchez Vela

Abstract

We test whether students' participation in Learning Communities (LC) increases freshman students' retention while controlling for their demographic characteristics, prior academic record, economic and behavioral characteristics, and self-selection into Learning Communities. In addition to accounting for self-selection into LC, we control for the endogeneity of academic performance. We find evidence that, ceteris paribus, entering freshmen who participate in Learning Communities at a regional, public university in the upper Midwest are more likely to return to the institution for their sophomore year. Our results indicate that students who participate in LC are 3.2% to 5.8% more likely to return to the university for their sophomore year than non-participants. (I21, I23)

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