Facebook Usage as a Predictor of Retention at a Private 4-year Institution

Jason Morris
Jeff Reese
Richard Beck
Charles Mattis


Computer-based social networking has become ubiquitous on college and university campuses. However, little is known about how this form of networking reflects social integration which is considered to be an integral component of student persistence. To address this topic, a random sample of 375 entering freshman were used to evaluate the differences between persisters and non-persisters in their use of “Facebook,” currently the most popular social computing network. Findings indicated that persisters were more actively involved and more likely to use Facebook for university-based relationships than non-persisters. Activity on Facebook was also statistically significantly related to a measure of Tinto's concept of social integration. Facebook appears to be a behavioral measure of social integration and may be an important factor in facilitating the transition to college for students.



There has been a positive link between Facebook use and persistence rates. College freshman who returned the following year were found to have more Facebook friends and more wall posts than those students who did not return the following year.

APA Citation

Morris, J., Reese, J., Beck, R., & Mattis, C. (2009). Facebook usage as a predictor of retention at a private 4-year institution. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 11(3), 311-322.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C50&q=Facebook+usage+as+a+predictor+of+retention+at+a+private+4-year+institution&btnG=
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice
Type of Research Mixed methods
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative), Text analysis
Intervention/Areas of Study Social media, Student support, Student-student interactions
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined First-year students, Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 4-year Institution, Private
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Arts and humanities, Formal sciences, Natural sciences, Social sciences, STEM
Outcome Variables of Interest Course completion, Persistence, Retention, Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 300-399
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=11342922328412063313&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en