Researchers from the National Survey of Student Engagement traveled to Toronto, Canada to share findings from a current project at the annual ACUHO-I Conference and Expo.
In 2018, National Survey of Student Engagement received a three-year grant from the ACUHO-I Research and Educational Foundation to study the impact of residence life and housing on student engagement and persistence. With data collected, Kevin Fosnacht, Bob Gonyea, Polly Graham, Sarah Hurtado, and I were able to complete a series of studies to share with conference participants. Highlights from the sessions included:
- Residential Learning Communities - Students who participated in a residential learning community were more likely to participate in meaningful learning activities in their living area (e.g., meeting with faculty, advisors, and peers). These contribute to their overall well-being, and we found specifically that RLCs had positive effects on first-year student persistence.
- Roommate-Matching Policies - In the aggregate, whether students selected their own roommates or were matched in rooms by the institution made no difference on student engagement outcomes. However, disaggregating the results by race and ethnicity showed that Black, Asian, and Multiracial students perceived better Quality of Interactions and Supportive Environments when they chose their own roommates.
- Persistence - For both first-year and sophomore students, living further from campus corresponded with a several percentage point decrease in persistence from spring to fall. Even a small drop in persistence can have profound financial implications for both institutions and students.
- Sophomores - Sophomores who participated in Residential Learning Communities perceived their living arrangements to have a greater impact (physical, social, and academic well-being) than their peers who lived near campus.
We received great feedback and exciting suggestions for future research related to housing, such as examining student experiences with both on- and off-campus employment, looking at the financial stress of seniors, and delving into differences among roommate-matching policies for LGBQ+ students.
As always, feel free to reach out to us with comments, questions, or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org or @NSSEsurvey If you missed the session, you can find our slides as well as the NSSE items and additional housing questions online.