Freshmen Learning Communities: Meeting the Needs of Commuting Students at an Urban Research University

  • Nancy R. Mansfield Georgia State University
Keywords: Metropolitan Universities, First Year Students, Commuting Students, Freshmen Learning Communities


One challenge at urban universities is to help freshmen students make connections to peers and faculty and to help them succeed academically. Georgia State University has developed a model for meeting this challenge and engaging students: Freshmen Learning Communities ( FLCs ). Freshmen students who live off campus and commute to school are often particularly at risk for feeling unconnected to their university. One of the many benefits of learning communities is that they encourage students to connect to their peers and faculty. This benefit of FLCs, while important for all students, is especially valuable for commuting students. This paper describes the institutional context of Georgia State, a leading research urban university facing the challenges of meeting the needs of commuter students. The FLC program at Georgia State is outlined as a successful model for engaging students in the learning process. Additionally, assessment information indicating academic and retention improvement is presented along with conclusions.