Higher Education

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 163–178 | Cite as

Class differentials in getting parental assistance for seeking a second chance of getting into university: an illustration of community-college students in Hong Kong



While a class gap remains in obtaining a degree despite an expansion of higher education, a variety of second chances have become available. How class matters in receiving parental assistance for seeking a second chance is of increasing importance to understanding educational inequality in an altered context of higher education, but it is under-researched. This article seeks to fill this gap by referring to a qualitative study of 85 community-college students in Hong Kong for illustration. First interviews with respondents recruited from a community college were conducted between the year 2006 and 2009 where they discussed how they desired a second chance option by studying an associate degree in community college. Encouragement and emotional support to seek this new, costly, and risky second chance was provided by parents of most respondents. And yet, as a deficit approach would have us believe, middle-class respondents received more relevant information and academic advice with financial support from their parents than working-class respondents. In spite of that fact, it seems to remain whether the middle class are indeed better able than the working class to get transferred to university through the transfer of an associate degree in Hong Kong. This illustration suggests that the availability of a second chance does not immediately imply that the middle and the working classes are equally capable of taking advantage of it to rectify their previous educational failure. This article will be concluded by discussing the implications of this study for educational inequality.


Class inequality Community college Hong Kong Parental assistance Second chance 



I am grateful to all participants of this study for their time and generosity sharing with me their experiences and views on many issues; but for their participation, this research study would have been impossible. A big thank-you goes to them! And I also thank the anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions on the draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Administration and Policy, Faculty of EducationChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong SAR, China

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