College Parents in 2016: Where Do You Fit?
In June 2016, College Parents of America, a membership organization designed to assist college parents, conducted their latest survey of college parents. College Parents of America gathered information from 510 parents through their subscribers and other internet channels. According to the CPA website, the new survey showed that “college parents are an important source of support for increasing student success and college completion.” We couldn’t agree more.
This survey clearly demonstrates that parents are, or at least hope to be, involved in their student’s college life. More than two thirds of parents responding said they plan to participate in family events such as move-in, orientation, or family weekend. Thirty-six percent said they communicate or plan to communicate with their student at least daily. Although the college parents responding to this survey may be a somewhat self-selecting group, parents, on the whole, want to be involved. Approximately 40% of parents responding said that their student attends college more than 4 hours away from home, so involvement for these parents may be different.
Student success and college completion
Ninety-four percent of the parents responding to this survey felt that their student was academically prepared to complete college. This is good news and demonstrates parents’ belief that their student’s high school has prepared students to succeed in college. However, in spite of parents’ belief that their student is academically prepared, only 76% of parents were confident in their student’s ability to complete college. The other 18% were concerned that problems other than academics might impede their student’s successful completion.
These statistics are interesting on their own, but they point to two segments of parents who express concern about their student. If 94% of parents feel their student is academically prepared, there is another 6% of parents who may be concerned about academic preparation. And if 18% of parents are concerned about issues that may derail their student’s progress, that means that a total of 24% of parents are worried about their student’s college success. That’s nearly 1 in 4.
We hear a lot these days about the high cost of a college education, and the struggles many families face in order to pay tuition. In response to this survey, 45% of parents said they planned to contribute 75% of the cost of their student’s education. 71% of parents said this cost would be the second largest investment they will make. 30% of parents said this was the largest investment they would make.
In response to another question, nearly 46% of parents worry that their student will be under-employed or have a job that will not allow them to pay their student loans.
There is obvious reason to be concerned about students successfully completing college – in a timely way.
Where do you fit?
Perhaps you had an opportunity to respond to this year’s College Parents of America survey. But if you didn’t, take some time to think about what your responses might have been.
How involved do you plan to be? How much will you communicate with your student? How much are you investing in your student’s education . . . and perhaps most important, how confident are you in your student’s ability to complete college successfully?
If you are completely comfortable and confident in your student, congratulations! But if you are part of the 24% of parents who have concerns, don’t just worry. Think about what you can do proactively to increase your student’s chances of succeeding – and your confidence in your student’s ability.
In our next post we’ll share some suggestions to help you and your student address some of your potential concerns.