Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Education

Degree Name


First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Boggs

Second Advisor

Dr. Rudolph V. Green

Third Advisor

Dr. Carson Lee


Attrition in colleges and universities has been high during most of the 20th century. Today's colleges are faced with high attrition rates and declining enrollments.

With fewer students available and continuing high attrition rates, institutions have increased their recruitment efforts and reviewed strategies for retention.

Improvement of institutional services and programs, including the expansion of living/learning centers in the residence halls, organized advisement programs and curriculum reforms were among the strategies suggested for retention in the literature.

As the need to increase retention becomes more obvious, administrators will need to use all of their resources to decrease the attrition rate.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of living arrangements on the academic performance and retention rate of college students over a four-year period.

The ex post facto method of research was used in the study. The procedures used to obtain data for the research report included(1) permission from the president to conduct the study, (2) collecting data from pertinent offices, and (3) using enrollment data to identify the 180 subjects used in the study.

The place of residence over the four-year period was used to categorize the subjects into two groups: Students who lived on-campus and students who lived off-campus. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were used to match the groups. Data from existing college files were collected on academic performance and enrollment over the fouryear period. The hypotheses were tested through the use of percentages, correlation coefficients and a t-test.

Selected Findings

1. The mean academic performance of on-campus and off-campus students did not differ significantly.

2. The attrition rate after three years was more than sixty percent for both classes.

3. Students who lived-off campus dropped out in larger numbers than students who lived on-campus.

4. Female students dropped out in larger numbers than male students.

5. More graduates participated in cocurricular activities than non-graduates.

6. Some graduates and non-graduates were not involved in any activities over the fouryear period.


Withdrawal from this historically black college appears to be a serious problem that has a number of implications for students as well as administrators who must allocate resources and plan programs. Living on campus appeared to be more positively related to retention and academic performance than living off-campus; participation in co-curricular activities appears to enhance student integration into the social system of the college. Therefore, a structure seems to be needed to more fully involve students in the total curriculum. Living arrangements appear to be a mechanism that administrators can use as a basis for planning and implementing programs designed to increase academic performance and retention.

Included in

Education Commons