The Branch Effect: Understanding Multi-Campus Enrollment and Student Success

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Higher education research pertaining to student descriptions and successes has classically been directed toward traditional four- and two-year institutions while those institutions referred to as "branch" campuses have been largely ignored. Our research used a cohort methodology to track a single group of students for six years to compare a branch to main campus of a large (>15,000 students) Midwestern university relative to demographic, academic, socioeconomic, and institutional variables. Overall, the branch campus was characterized by older students, a lower percentage of minorities, similar ratio of male to female, lower average high school GPA, a higher percentage of first-generation students, and a higher percentage of Pell-eligible students when compared with the main campus. Interestingly, both graduation rate as well as time to graduation of branch students was found to be less than main campus students—independent of all other factors in general linear modeling analysis that indicted both a 7% reduction in graduation probability but almost a one-year reduction in time to graduation tied to 100% enrollment at the branch campus. Variations observed in the effect of campus enrollment suggest additional work be conducted on this portion of the public higher education sector to better understand these relationships on a broader scale. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]



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