High university dropout rates in Italy have been a widely observed and documented phenomenon for many years. Compared to their OECD counterparts, a large number of Italian students leave university before completing their degree courses, and significant numbers of dropouts occur during the first year of study. Only about one third of students who enrol get a university degree. Moreover, Italian students who graduate tend, on average, to be slower than other OECD students in completing their degree courses (Aina et al. 2011; for recent reports, see, for instance, MIUR 2011; Regini 2009). 1