Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 9-14-2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Utah State University (USU) dedicates substantial resources to support student transition to higher education. The Passport Experience cuts across all university domains to support early student participation in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities. Students are invited to attend a variety of events, when milestones are reached, students are rewarded. Persistence is a primary objective of the Passport Experience. The Passport Experience helps students develop an increased awareness of campus events, broad their engagement in the university experience, and become more involved in the University community. This report explores the association between the Passport Experience and students’ persistence toward graduation. METHODS: Passport participation was captured through card swipes. Students who had enough records of Passport participation to receive a reward were compared to similar students who had no record of participation. Students were matched for comparison using prediction- based propensity score matching. Students were matched with non-users based on their persistence predication and their propensity to participate. FINDINGS: Students were 97% similar following matching. Participating and comparison students were compared using difference-in-difference testing. Students who participated were significantly more likely to persist at USU than similar students who did not (DID = 0.054, p < .001). The unstandardized effect size can be estimated through student impact. It is estimated that the Passport Experience assisted in retaining 6 (CI: 1 – 9) students each year who were otherwise not expected to persist. When data collection procedures were improved in 2017, the impact of the Passport Experience increased to an estimated retention of 37 (CI: 1 to 72) students. Further tracking of this program is warrented given improved data collection and new practices.