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Sarah S. Hurtado, Ph.D.

Robert M. Gonyea, Ph.D.

Polly A. Graham, Ph.D.

Kevin Fosnacht, Ph.D.


Residential learning communities; living-learning programs; student engagement; residence life


Residential learning communities (RLCs) are residence hall environments designed to deliver academic and social benefits. For decades, many have argued RLCs are an effective means for increasing student success. Yet substantial changes in the defining characteristics of campus housing and student diversity have led to new questions about the impact of living on campus and the benefits of RLCs in particular. Consequently, we investigated the continued efficacy of RLCs as an effective educational practice. Using data from a diverse, multi-institution sample of first-year and sophomore students, this study provides insight into the relationships between RLC participation, student engagement, and perceived gains in learning.