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Parental Expectations for Postsecondary Education

April 30, 2008

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of students in grades 6 through 12 have parents who expect them to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher and ninety-one percent were expected to continue their education beyond high school, according to a recently released study by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The report, Parental Expectations and Planning for College, examines the level of education parents in the U.S. expect their children to achieve, whether their children’s schools are providing information to help their children plan for postsecondary education, and whether they or someone in their family plans to help pay the costs.

Highlights of the study include:

  • Eighty-three percent of students from families with a household income greater than $75,000 had parents expecting them to finish college. Approximately half of students from families with incomes of $25,000 or less had parents who expected them to finish college.
  • A higher percentage of parents born outside of the United States (76 percent) anticipated their children would finish college as compared to parents born in the United States (63 percent).
  • Only 32 percent of students had parents who perceived that their child’s school did “very well” at providing information to help their child plan for postsecondary education. Twenty-seven percent indicated that the school provided no information at all.
  • Eighty percent of Asian students had parents who expected them to finish college, compared to 66 percent of White students and 64 percent of Black and Hispanic students.
  • Eighty-three percent of private school students had parents who expected them to finish college, compared to 64 percent of public school students, and 55 percent of home-schooled students.
  • More than eight out of ten students (82%) whose parents expected their children to continue their education after high school also planned on helping to pay their child’s postsecondary education costs.

To download the full report, visit the NCES Website.