The Benefits of Low-Income Students’ Participation in Living Learning Leadership Programs

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The Benefits of Low-Income Students’ Participation in Living Learning Leadership Programs

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University of Minnesota




Scholars have illuminated significant disparities in higher education degree attainment between college students from low-income and upper-income backgrounds. Instead of increasing social mobility of college students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, structural barriers prohibit many low-income and working-class students from entering into higher education and graduating (Soria, 2015). Sixty percent of students from high socioeconomic status backgrounds earned a bachelor’s degree or higher within eight years compared with 14% of those from low socioeconomic backgrounds (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). While the extant research on the benefits of living in residence halls substantiates the vital role residential life plays in students’ success (Astin, 1993; Blimling, 1989, 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005), the scholarship base about the benefits of on-campus living among students from lower-income backgrounds is underdeveloped (Lopez Turley & Wodkte, 2010), as is research around the impact specifically of living and learning leadership programs. Research on the identities of students from lower-income backgrounds is also relatively absent in living and learning leadership literature, and most scholars fail to take into account the self-selection biases of students who participate in living-learning leadership communities. The purpose of our study is to examine whether participating in a living and learning leadership program might be associated with low-income students’ resilience and sense of belonging. Students’ resilience and belonging are factors commonly associated with low-income students’ persistence and degree attainment in higher education.


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The research is sponsored by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, the ACUHO-I Research & Education Foundation, and National Association of College and University Residence Halls.

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Soria, Krista M.; Roberts, Brayden J.. (2021). The Benefits of Low-Income Students’ Participation in Living Learning Leadership Programs. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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