Measuring Modern Parent College Involvement Trends

Parent involvement in K12 education has been widely studied, but much less has been examined at the college level.

CampusESP collaborated with more than a dozen institutions, collecting more than 7,000 parent surveys, to better understand how parents of Millennials and Generation Z interact with their college students.  The research was summarized by Kayla Reed, a PhD from Florida State, who has also authored other related studies such as Helicopter Parenting and Emerging Adult Self-Efficacy: Implications for Mental and Physical Health (2016).


Modern College Parent Involvement Trends is a brief study on how different types of parents and their students communicate, to partner for success in college.  


The study is available for free by clicking HERE.


Parent involvement trends were noted by ethnicity, family education level and 14 other characteristics

The results may be surprising:

  • Parents with lower levels of formal education have higher levels of student engagement;
  • Minority parents have higher levels of student engagement and a desire for additional engagement from their students' college;
  • Parents of first-generation college students have higher levels of student engagement and a desire for additional engagement from their students' college.


Taken together, these findings suggest several questions for further exploration:

  • What type of parent involvement helps student success?
  • What more can colleges do to help parents engage to help their students succeed?
  • What are the most successful parent engagement strategies?
  • How can colleges help parents who desire more university engagement get connected to involvement opportunities?

For example, preliminary insight from CampusESP suggests that students who have parents who use a platform for strategic parent engagement are 25% more likely to continue enrollment. Finding ways to effectively involve parents as partners to promote student success may help to further shrink the student inequality gap.