College Parents of America

March 14, 2007 08:15 ET

National Survey of College Parents Reveals Extremely High Level of Communication among Today's Parents and College Students

ARLINGTON, VA.--(Collegiate Presswire - March 14, 2007) - A new national survey of current college parents reveals that a large majority of today's parents are in consistent contact with their children, and that "finances" form the topic of greatest concern among parents, as well as the issue drawing the greatest requests for parental advice from students.

The Second Annual National Survey of College Parent Experiences was conducted by College Parents of America (www.collegeparents.org) and one of its partner organizations, Student Advantage, LLC. The survey was recently completed online by more than 1700, or 4.2 percent, of a recipient list of 40,000 parents with children currently in college.

"Parents of today's college students have seen their child come through the gauntlet of competitive college admissions, only to arrive anxiously on campus where there is no rest for the weary, with attrition levels in the double-digits," said James A. Boyle, president, College Parents of America. "Understandably, parents are concerned about the status of their own college investment, and whether the money spent is supporting their child's academic success in a safe, healthy learning environment."

Boyle added: "The good thing about parents being involved is that it is much better than the alternative. Another section of our survey shows that forward-thinking colleges and universities realize they can channel parental involvement in positive and productive support of student achievement in school, an important component of a young person's preparation for the remainder of adult life."

According to the College Parents of America survey, 73 percent, or nearly three in four, of current college parents communicate at least "two to three times a week" with their sons or daughters while they are at college or university, with 31 percent, or nearly one in three, communicating on a daily basis or more.

How do parents communicate? Cell phone is the mode of choice, with 82 percent of respondents saying that they use a mobile connection to frequently stay in touch, as opposed to the much lower figure of 25 percent who use a landline phone connection. In fact, more than one-half of all respondents, 52 percent, say that they either rarely or never use a regular landline phone.

E-mail is popular too, according to the survey, with 58 percent using it frequently. Perhaps laying open an inter-generational technical disconnect, only 28 percent of parents claim to use instant messaging frequently, while a clear majority of 53 percent claim to use IMing rarely or not at all.

The College Parents of America survey also tried to get at the question of subject-matter concerns among parents regarding their children, and "finances" topped the list, with 45 percent, or nearly one half of parents, citing that topic as the area of greatest concern, followed closely by "health and safety" at 43 percent, "academics" at 37 percent and "career planning" at 31 percent.

When parents were asked the pointed question of "This year, on which topic has your student most requested advice or assistance from you?" then "finances" were cited as the most-asked about topic by 33 percent, with academics and health and safety concerns tied at 14 percent as topics on which students asked for "very frequent" or "frequent" advice. Health and safety concerns have risen in the past year, as only 5 percent of parents mentioned that as a topic of frequently requested advice or assistance in the debut annual survey, conducted in March 2006.

In a finding that closely echoes last year's survey, more than 80 percent of parent respondents say that their level of involvement with their child is "much more" or "more" than their own parents had with them while they were in college.

Several questions in the survey formed a section intended to measure the awareness and satisfaction of current college parents when it comes to relationships with the colleges and universities that are educating their sons and daughters. In recent years, many schools have created parent communication tools or opened parent relations offices in order to serve the current generation of parents.

The survey results demonstrate that parents are noticing these increased efforts on the part of institutions of higher education. For instance, more than half of the survey respondents report that their student's school offers a parent-oriented Web site, and more than two-thirds say that the school hosts an orientation specifically for the benefit of parents.

The Second Annual National Survey on Current College Parent Experiences generated responses from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The vast majority of respondents - 76 percent - are parents of freshmen or sophomores, so the answers to the questions to parents will serve as benchmark data that can be tracked over the next couple of years and beyond.

A summary of the survey results can be viewed at: http://www.collegeparents.org/files/2007-Current-Parent-Survey.pdf

The survey in its entirety is available via Survey Monkey at:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/Report.asp?U=343272271484

NOTE: James A. Boyle, president of College Parents of America, is available to discuss the survey findings and other college parent-related issues at 571-213-3979.

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