Students from a lower socioeconomic background have a higher risk of dropping out of higher education. The underlying mechanisms of this association between socioeconomic background and higher education dropout are not well understood. Previous research in higher education has followed Tinto’s model of academic and social integration to explain dropout but has largely neglected social inequality therein. In contrast, social stratification research draws on rational choice theory to explain social inequality in educational attainment but has rarely been applied to explain dropout from higher education. In our paper, we combine these two strands of research. Utilizing data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), we draw on a largescale, representative sample of students in Germany to quantify the relative contribution of each theoretical approach for explaining social inequality in dropout from higher education. Binary logistic regression models reveal that both students’ integration and costs-benefit considerations are associated with their dropout risk net of each other. While academic and social integration appears to better predict dropout, rational choice theory accounts for a larger proportion of social inequality therein. We conclude that combining Tinto’s model and rational choice theory provides a more comprehensive perspective of dropouts from higher education and social inequality therein.