Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Thomas E. Miller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Robert Sullins, Ed.D.

Committee Member

William H. Young, Ed.D.


Academic-Based Learning Community, Academic Success, Interest-Based Learning Community, Living Learning Community, Persistence


The college experience for many students is an exciting and sometimes awe-inspiring journey. For the first time many students find themselves responsible for making life altering decisions that will determine the course of their adult lives for years to come. They are making the decisions to participate in specific academic majors, a variety of housing options and a multitude of extra-curricular activities. Unfortunately, without proper guidance and structure many of these students find themselves unable to cope with the new challenges of academia, faculty staff interaction, peer relationships and financial obligations. It is because of these challenges that institutions of higher education must take a proactive approach in addressing the unique needs of their students.

Of the estimated three million undergraduate college students entering higher education today ". . . nearly 30-40% of these students drop out without obtaining a college degree" (Enochs & Roland, 2006, p. 63). As a result of the challenges faced by these students, institutions are recognizing the importance of developing initiatives and support services to address the deficiencies in maturity, academics and social skills. One such initiative being implemented by institutions is the development and execution of living learning communities. The strengths of living learning communities are their adaptability, affordability and potential to address institutional concerns such as engagement, student persistence rates and academic success. Growing out of the college retention research of Alexander Astin (1993) and Vincent Tinto (1993), this current study examines the relationships between living learning communities and their influence on academic success and persistence rates of students who first matriculated in the Fall of 2010 or 2011, and were still enrolled in the Fall 2012 semester for first-year and second-year students at the University of South Florida.