WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Family Voices study — a recent survey of U.S. parents conducted by Carnegie Corporation and Gallup — 54% of parents of children aged 11 to 25 in the United States would prefer that their child enroll in a four-year university immediately after high school. However, 46% of parents say even if there were no barriers to their child earning a bachelor’s degree, they would prefer another postsecondary option.
Parents who are bachelor’s degree-holders themselves (66%), have Black children (67%) or identify as Democrats (70%) are especially likely to prefer enrollment in a four-year university for their child.
Though many community colleges offer associate degrees that develop skills for a specific career path — such as paralegal or dental hygienist programs — parents are twice as likely to say they want their child to complete a noncollege-based skills training program (16%) rather than enroll in community college (8%). Noncollege skills training programs include apprenticeships, specialized technical training and trade school.
The remaining 22% of parents prefer that their child pursue a path that does not explicitly involve formal postsecondary education, such as starting a business, performing volunteer work, joining the military, securing a paid job or taking time off to pursue their interests.
Nearly Half of Current Students’ Parents Want More Options
Among parents whose children are enrolled in middle or high school, 84% say they are “satisfied” with four-year college, two-year college and vocational or technical skills training programs as options for their child. However, in a separate question, nearly half of these parents (45%) agree or strongly agree that they wish there were more options available to their child.