Informational Environments and College Student Dropout

  • Steffen Hillmert
  • Martin Groß
  • Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha
  • Hannes Weber


In this chapter, an interdisciplinary research group of sociologists and educational scientists discusses how the informational environments of college students influence potential and actual dropout behavior. Previous research has identified academic performance and social integration as the key predictors of student dropout. Our focus is on a further explication of these aspects using information-related factors: media-related competency and information behavior, perceptions of fairness at college, and social integration into university life. Empirical analyses are based on data from a large online survey. We focus on both dropout intentions, as stated in the survey, as well as actual dropouts, as shown in administrative records around 1.5 years after the survey. We find that several factors related to information behavior, justice perceptions as well as social integration, significantly affect dropout intentions. These findings are surprisingly stable across fields of study groups as well as academic performance levels. On the other hand, actual dropouts are much harder to predict in comparison to stated preferences.


Information Informational environments Higher education College dropout Dropout intention Transitions Information behavior Media competencies Justice perceptions Social integration 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Hillmert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin Groß
    • 1
  • Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha
    • 3
  • Hannes Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Soziologie, Eberhard Karls Universität TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of EducationUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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