Higher Education and Student Affairs Faculty Publications

Document Type



According to prevailing theory and anecdotal evidence, the congruence between institutional attributes and students’ needs, interests, and preferences plays a key role in promoting college satisfaction and retention. However, this assertion has received little direct empirical attention, and the few available studies appear to have some key limitations. This study examined the factor structure and predictive validity of a newly developed student-institution fit instrument, which was designed to avoid the problems in previous research. Confirmatory factor analyses identified several interrelated dimensions of fit, and these dimensions can be combined into a single overall fit index. Moreover, a six-factor structure of student-institution fit is similar at two institutions that differ in terms of size, control, type, region, and religious affiliation. Structural equation modeling analyses show that student-institution fit is associated with greater college satisfaction and lower social isolation; fit also has a positive, indirect effect on intent to persist. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Publisher's Statement

“The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11162-013-9320-9”."

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Publication Title

Research in Higher Education