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The Causal Effect of Campus Residency on College Student Retention

From: The Review of Higher Education
Volume 34, Number 4, Summer 2011
pp. 581-610 | 10.1353/rhe.2011.0023



Despite theoretical evidence positing a positive relationship between campus residency and collegiate outcomes, prior research has not established a causal link. Utilizing propensity score matching and national longitudinal data, this study investigates whether living in university-owned housing impacts retention. The results suggest that the impact of living on campus is not negligible: the probability of remaining enrolled into the second year of college is 3.3 percentage points higher for on-campus residents than off-campus residents. Colleges should consider evaluating the impact of their campus housing programs on academic outcomes to inform important housing policy decisions.

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