Vie purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the perceptions of underprepared college students who had par-ticipated in a first-year learning community at an urban, culturally diverse, commuter campus in the southeastern United States. Perceptions of graduates and those who earned at least 30 college-level credit hours were compared to their learning community peers who did not persist and had dropped out of college. A to-tal of 22 students participated: 6 graduates, 12 persisters, and 4 dropouts. The factors included personal attributes, support systems, and other characteristics. Findings suggested the follow-ing ways to enhance the academic experience of underprepared college students: (a) include critical pedagogy, (b) integrate cocurricular activities with the academic disciplines, and (c) increase student-faculty interaction. Postsecondary institutions such as community colleges emphasize student retention because high levels of attrition may harm the interests of many constituents (Bragg, 2001). For example, Bragg identifies interests such as the long-term earning options of students; the economic vi-tality of communities needing skilled workers; and the institutions curriculum development, faculty planning, mission, and political impact. College administrators perceive student retention rates as indicators which measure the quality of faculty instruction, support ser-vices, and student success. In community col-leges this is particularly disconcerting because of the number of college students whose entry placement scores require them to enroll in de-velopmental education classes and their low persistence and graduation rates (Bers & Smith, 1991; Burley, Butner, & Cejda, 2001). Nationally, approximately one-third of all students enter-ing colleges or universities need remediation (Byrd & McDonald, 2005); as many as 41% of all community college freshmen nationwide are enrolled in developmental courses (Hoyt, 1999; McCabe, 2003). The following question framed the study: To what did underprepared community college students who participated in a learning commu-nity and completed their developmental classes attribute their having graduated (graduates) or earning at least 30 credit-bearing college credits (the persisters) as compared to those who par-ticipated in a learning community but did not complete their developmental classes and who dropped out of college (dropouts)? College students enrolling in developmental classes and not participating in learning com-munities have demonstrated a higher attrition rate and a lower completion rate (Boylan 1999; Burley et al, 2001; McCabe, 2003; Roueche & Roueche, 1999) compared to college students who participated in learning communities; the latter academically outperformed nonpar-ticipants (Brittenham et al., 2003; Knight, 2003; Raftery, 2005). Most studies have been conduct-ed at 4-year institutions or among specifically defined cohorts such as those enrolled in hon-ors colleges or specific majors. Zhao and Kuh (2004) analyzed 80,479 students from 365 four-year institutions, finding that participation in a learning community was positively linked with engagement in active and collaborative learn-ing, increased interaction with faculty mem-bers, and augmented overall satisfaction with the college experience. At the time of this study, 284 institutions had listed their programs with the Washington Center Learning Communities National Resource Directory (2007). Of that number, 101 represented community colleges, and only 9 of those institutions, including the study site, had implemented learning commu-nities for students in developmental education classes. Developmental education (also known as postsecondary remediation, basic skills edu-cation, compensatory education, or preparatory education) is composed primarily of sequences of increasingly advanced courses designed to bring underprepared students to the level of skill competency expected of college freshmen (Mc-Cabe, 2003).