Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

John Nunnery

Committee Member

Dennis Gregory


This study explored the impact of place of residence on the academic achievement and retention of full-time, first-time-in-college students at an urban, public, primarily commuter university in the Southeast. Three groups of subjects were compared to ascertain if any group differences existed in regard to mean freshman grade point average, grades earned in a common course taken (Freshman English I), and retention into the second year of study. The three subject groups that were compared included residential learning community, traditional residence hall, and commuter students.

The subject groups were matched on the demographic characteristics of age, gender, and ethnicity and prior academic achievement in the form of high school grade point average. Scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) were used as a covariate in two separate analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) procedures to test for group differences in academic achievement. Retention into the second year of study was analyzed using a binary logistic regression to compare the expected and observed frequencies of re-enrollment.

The results indicated that there were no differences in academic achievement between the subject groups in terms of mean freshman grade point average. Statistically significant results were obtained when the groups were compared on the mean grade in Freshman English I. The residential learning community group achieved a significantly higher mean course grade than both the traditional and commuter groups. No group differences were found regarding retention into the second year of study.

Conclusions, implications for future research, and suggestions for administrative consideration are discussed using the information obtained as a result of the analyses.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).