Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-10-2019


Introduction: Access to nutritional food items is crucial to student well-being, which in turn is crucial to student success. Student success emerges from “the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience” (Astin, 1984). Campus nutrition programs help students eliminate food security issues so that they can devote more energy to the academic experience. However, creating efficient and convenient nutrition programs requires that administrators understand the complexities of their implementation, their effect on specific student segments, and their effect on decisions to either persist at or leave an institution. This report explores the impact of student nutrition services at Utah State University on student persistence. It also disaggregates results to identify which segments of students benefit most and explores the impact by level of use and timing. METHODS: Students who used SNAC were compared to similar students who did not use SNAC. They were compared using prediction-based propensity score matching. This technique matched students who used SNAC with non-users based on their persistence prediction and their propensity to participate. The differences between predicted and actual persistence rates were compared using difference-in-difference testing. FINDINGS: Students were 98% similar following matching. Analysis of the matched group revealed that those who participated in SNAC were significantly more likely to persist at USU than similar students who did not participate in SNAC, (DID = 0.0156, p < .05). The unstandardized effect size can be estimated through student impact. It is estimated that SNAC assisted in retaining 18 (CI: 2 to 34) students each year who were otherwise not expected to persist.