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Atlanta Fed Working Papers


Freshman Learning Communities, College Performance, and Retention

Julie L. Hotchkiss, Robert E. Moore, and M. Melinda Pitts
Working Paper 2005-22
September 2005

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This paper applies a standard treatment effects model to determine that participation in freshman learning communities (FLCs) improves academic performance and retention. Not controlling for individual self-selection into FLC participation leads one to incorrectly conclude that the impact is the same across race and gender groups. Accurately assessing the impact of any educational program is essential in determining what resources institutions should devote to it.

JEL classification: I21

Key words: freshman learning community, treatment effects


The authors gratefully acknowledge the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Freshman Studies at Georgia State University and Nancy Mansfield in particular. The views expressed here are the authors’ and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors’ responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Julie L. Hotchkiss, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, Julie.L.Hotchkiss@atl.frb.org; Robert E. Moore, Office of the Dean, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3992, Atlanta, GA 30302-3992, rmoore@gsu.edu; and M. Melinda Pitts, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, Melinda.Pitts@atl.frb.org.

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