Ask any Fortune 100 advertiser how to connect with teenagers and you’ll get a sermon on the power of social influencers like Kim Kardashian, Logan Paul and the like. Like windmills, they generate viral energy and excitement around new products and services that net big sales returns. So who are some of the biggest influencers when it comes to college?
Well, Mom and Dad.
Given all the fresh research measuring student sentiment during COVID-19 and their evolving college enrollment intentions for the fall, one might be very circumspect and concerned that these responses are fairly one-dimensional. Students posit that 89% of them have no intention of delaying their education, but how do parents, the primary influencers in this matter, feel about enrollment this fall?
In collaboration with RNL, CampusESP and NAIA, we recently fielded a study of more than 3,400 parents to take the pulse on how they are weathering college enrollment for this fall.
Parents of College-Bound Students & College Planning As A Result of COVID-19 is an online survey proctored by RNL. The survey provides interesting insights on the financial and emotional impact of COVID-19 on college enrollment, as well as identifies the areas of highest concern and uncertainty. Broken down by caretakers of seniors as well as juniors, geographical location, ethnicity, and education level, it provides insight on both the approaching 2020 class as well as the following 2021 class.
In many ways, it reinforces what we already know: that parents with a 2-year degree or less are financially impacted more than those with a bachelor’s degree, and that minorities, regardless of education level, are more likely to suffer financial strain.
In other ways, however, it revealed somewhat surprising sentiments. The majority of parents do want their students to enroll closer to home, but not many want them to live at home.
By analyzing answers from parents, students, and their online behavior, we can get closer to making better predictions for Fall 2020 and beyond.
Have You Been Personally or Financially Impacted by COVID-19?
Across the board, three-fourths of parents, for both juniors and seniors, said yes, they had been personally and/or financially impacted by COVID-19. This is the one area where those affected is relatively even across the board, regardless of ethnicity.
The one factor that seemed to influence the impact of COVID-19 has to do with level of education. Those with a 4-year degree or higher were less likely to have been personally or financially impacted by the pandemic.
On average, 34% claim that the pandemic has affected their students’ decision, with the highest impact in the Northeast and West. Those of Hispanic ethnicity feel that impact most deeply, followed by African American and Asian families, respectively, with white families feeling the least amount of strain.