The Interplay of Family Income, Campus Residency, and Student Retention (What Practitioners Should Know about Cultural Mismatch)
Student from low-income families consistently trail behind their peers in retention and degree attainment. Research on college student experiences suggests that low-income students experience “cultural mismatch” at college—they feel that their backgrounds are at odds with the middle-class values dominant on campus (Armstrong & Hamilton, 2013; Stuber, 2011). Living on campus further embeds students into campus life, so how do campus residents from low-income families fare compared to their middle- and upper-income peers? This study examines variation in the effects of living on campus on student retention across family income. While living on campus improves retention on average (Schudde, 2011), results show that students from low-income families benefit less from living on campus than their peers. Implications for residential life programs, professionalization and training, and future research are also discussed.