Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


This study explores the role of community service learning (CSL) in promoting undergraduate persistence relative to other experiences students have in college, their entering characteristics, and institutional features. By following the 2009 freshmen cohort at three Midwestern universities over three years, this study finds that students’ experiences while in college (CSL, full-time enrollment, and GPA) have a stronger effect on the likelihood of reenrollment than students’ entering characteristics (age, gender, and race). Our separate analyses for each institution allow us to consider how the differences between the three universities (student body composition, retention rate, CSL program) might lead CSL courses to play a particularly critical role in student persistence in certain types of universities.