Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Judith Spain

Department Affiliation

Management, Marketing, and International Business

Third Advisor

Gill Hunter

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre


This study examined the effect of residential learning communities on the success of first-generation first-year students. Using the theoretical framework of Tinto’s Conceptual Schema this study looked at the social and academic integration factors of living in a residential learning community through fall-to-fall retention rates and EKU GPA. A large institutional database was used to identify the first-generation first-year students in the study as well as their demographic differences. When controlling for gender, race, Pell Grant eligibility, high school GPA, and composite ACT scores, results showed participation in residential learning communities did not make a significant difference in the fall-to-fall retention rates or the EKU GPA of first-generation first-year students. It did show that gender, race, high school GPA and ACT composite scores were statistically significant in the fall-to-fall retention of first-generation first-year students. Results also showed gender, high school GPA and ACT composite scores were all statically significant covariates when looking a first-generation first-year student EKU GPA’s.