You are here:

Does one size fit all? University differences in the influence of wages, financial aid, and integration on student retention


Economics of Education Review Volume 24, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


We develop and empirically implement a model of university student retention using opportunity cost, financial aid, academic and social integration, and students’ background explanatory variables. For one year, we tracked students from Weber State University (WSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) to learn whether they remained enrolled for 0, 1, 2, or 3 quarters. We use negative binomial and Poisson distributions to empirically model the observed enrollment decisions. We make four interesting empirical findings. First, opportunity costs influence retention, but the effects differ by university. At WSU, an undergraduate, commuter university, we find students substitute wage labor for enrollment. At OSU, a Research I university, the effect is non-linear, but on average, higher wages encourage retention. Second, we find no evidence that efforts to increase academic integration through increased advising and mentoring are effective. Third, the effects of financial aid differ by university and are sometimes negative. At OSU, work-study financial aid encourages retention, while grants do not. At WSU, grants support retention, but VA assistance does not. Finally, we find that students' future intentions for re-enrollment are a major determinant of re-enrollment at WSU, but not OSU. This may reflect the ancillary role that WSU plays in many of its students' career and academic plans.


Kerkvliet, J. & Nowell, C. (2005). Does one size fit all? University differences in the influence of wages, financial aid, and integration on student retention. Economics of Education Review, 24(1), 85-95. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct:



View References & Citations Map

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. Signed in users can suggest corrections to these mistakes.

Suggest Corrections to References