Tinto (1993). Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. Second Edition. University of Chicago Press.


  • Preface to Second Edition
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction (1)
  • 2. The Scope and Patterning of Student Departure from Higher Education (7)
  • 3. Roots of Individual Departure from Institutions of Higher Education (34)
  • 4. A Theory of Individual Departure from Institutions of Higher Education (84)
  • 5. The Dimensions of Institutional Action (138)
  • 6. Conclusions (204)
  • Appendix A: The Assessment of Student Departure from Institutions of Higher Education (213)
  • Appendix B: Toward a Theory of Doctoral Persistence (230)
  • Notes (244)
  • References (257)
  • Index (283)

[The “why” of of student departures]

“… assessing the character of student retention …” (p 139)

“… high rates of student departure may be a serious strain on the financial stability of the institution.” (p 140)

[Not all departures should be viewed as “dropouts.” (p 140) Does not differentiate reasons for leaving. Each potential departure requires “distinct” intervention. Institutions must be careful to avoid “mistargeting” allocation of resources in interventions; “counterproductive.”]

“… the term ‘dropout’ has come to connote a form of individual failure, a failure of the person to measure up to the demands of college life regardless of their content and character.” (p 140)

“… use of ‘dropout’ may hinder the necessary process of social and intellectual change that must mark the continued development of institutions … and may serve as a barrier to institutional change and revitalization.” (p 140-141)

[An early leaver may perceive their departure as not being evidence of failure… ]

“… they may understand their departure as representing quite positive steps toward goal attainment.” (p 142)

[Difference in goals between early leaver and institution, or “absence of sufficient commitment.” (p 142) Institution may not be able to remedy early departures when the departures are mischaracterized. (p 142)]

“It is when individuals also view their leaving as failure that the term ‘dropout’ is best applied.” (p 142)

“Insofar as dropout is defined as a failure on the part of the individual to attain a desired and reasonable educational goal, so too does that leaving represent a failure on the part of the institution to assist the person achieve what he/she initially set out to do in first entering the institution. Here the interests of both parties overlap.” (p 143)

“… it is in the institution’s own best interest to assess the intentions (educational and career goals) of entering students.” (p 143)

[Institutions could “assess the intentions” (p 143). Concerns when “… state funding is geared to measures of institutional productivity.” (p 143) ]

“In diffusing scarce resources, the institution weakens its ability to assist those who remain.” (p 143)

[Heading: “The Question of Educational Mission” (p 143)]

[Institutions must reflect on “their own goals and commitments.” (p 144) What educational issue is the institution there to solve? ]

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