Leaving College Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition
by Vincent Tinto
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Cloth: 978-0-226-80449-1 | Paper: 978-0-226-00757-1 | Electronic: 978-0-226-92246-1
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226922461.001.0001


In this 1994 classic work on student retention, Vincent Tinto synthesizes far-ranging research on student attrition and on actions institutions can and should take to reduce it. The key to effective retention, Tinto demonstrates, is in a strong commitment to quality education and the building of a strong sense of inclusive educational and social community on campus.  He applies his theory of student departure to the experiences of minority, adult, and graduate students, and to the situation facing commuting institutions and two-year colleges. Especially critical to Tinto‚Äôs model is the central importance of the classroom experience and the role of multiple college communities. 


Vincent Tinto, Distinguished Professor of Education at Syracuse University, is coauthor of Where Colleges Are and Who Attends: Effects of Accessibility on College Attendance (1972).


Preface to Second Edition


The Dimensions and Consequences of Student Departure from Higher Education

The Limits of Our Understanding of Student Departure

The Goals and Structure of the Book

2. The Scope and Patterning of Student Departure from Higher Education

The Entry of Individuals into Higher Education

The Scope of Departure from Higher Education

Group Differences in Rates of Degree Completion

Concluding Observations

3. Roots of Individual Departure from Institutions of Higher Education

Sorting through Past Research on Student Departure

Individual Roots of Student Departure

Interactional Roots of Institutional Departure

External Communities and Withdrawal from College

Finances and College Persistence

Involvement, Learning, and Leaving

Individual and Institutional Variations in the Process of Student Departure

Concluding Observations

Past Theories of Student Departure

Studies of Departure in Other School Settings

Stages in the Process of Departure from Institutions of Higher Education

Suicide and the Study of Departure from Higher Education

Toward a Theory of Institutional Departure from Higher Education

A Longitudinal Model of Departure from Institutions of Higher Education

Linking Learning and Leaving: The Educational Character of Student Leaving

A Model of Institutional Departure: Some Observations

5. The Dimensions of Institutional Action

Defining "Dropout" from Higher Education

The Principles of Effective Retention

The Principles of Effective Implementation

What Works in Retaining Students

Retention Policies for Different Students

Retention Policies for Different Institutions

Concluding Observations

Educational Communities and the Character of Institutional Commitment

Educational Mission and Institutional Commitment

The Paradox of Institutional Commitment and the Limits of Institutional Action

Educational Excellence, Retention, and Student Involvement in Learning

Leaving College and Other Forms of Departure

A Concluding Observation

Appendix A: The Assessment of Student Departure from Institutions of Higher Education

Appendix B: Toward a Theory of Doctoral Persistence