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Understanding and Reducing College Student Departure: ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Volume 30, Number 3

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7282-0
128 pages
April 2004, Jossey-Bass
Understanding and Reducing College Student Departure: ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Volume 30, Number 3 (0787972827) cover image
Student departure is a long-standing problem to colleges and universities. Approximately 45 percent of students enrolled in two-year colleges depart during their first year, and approximately one out of four students departs from a four-year college or university. The authors advance a serious revision of Tinto's popular interactionalist theory to account for student departure, and they postulate a theory of student departure in commuter colleges and universities.

This volume delves into the literature to describe exemplary campus-based programs designed to reduce student departure. It emphasizes the importance of addressing student departure through a multidisciplinary approach, engaging the whole campus. It proposes new models for nonresidential students and students from diverse backgrounds, and suggests directions for further research.

Academic and student affairs administrators seeking research-based approaches to understanding and reducing student departure will profit from reading this volume. Scholars of the college student experience will also find it valuable in defining new thrusts in research on the student departure process.

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The Ill-Structured Problem of College Student Departure.

Overview of the Volume.

Intended Audience.

Tinto’s Interactionalist Theory.

Tinto’s Interactionalist Theory.

An Empirical Assessment of Tinto.

Propositions Receiving Strong Support.

Explanations for Unanticipated Academic Integration Findings.

Tinto’s Theory: Revise or Abandon?

Toward a Revision of Tinto’s Theory for Residential Colleges and Universities.

Influences on Social Integration.

Underlying Conceptual Orientation of the Six Influences.

Tinto’s Theory Revisited in Residential Colleges and Universities.

Implications for Racial or Ethnic Minority Students.

Student Departure in Commuter Colleges and Universities.

Sixteen Propositions: Elements of a Theory of Student Departure in Commuter Institutions.

Formulating a Theory of Student Departure in Commuter Colleges and Universities.

Exemplary Student Retention Programs.

Sources of Retention Programs.

Selecting Exemplary Retention Programs.

Nine Exemplary Retention Programs.

Reducing Institutional Rates of Departure.

An Overarching Recommendation.

Powerful Institutional Levers of Action.

Residential Colleges and Universities.

Commuter Colleges and Universities.

Reducing the Departure of Racial or Ethnic Minority Students.

Conclusions and Recommendations for Scholarship.


Recommendations for Further Scholarship.

Closing Thoughts.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

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