Parental involvement in a child’s education is one of the central mechanisms that prepares the child for postsecondary education. Since parental involvement demands considerable resources and experience, it remains unclear whether parents who have some college experience but no postsecondary degree are effective in supporting their child’s college pathway. In the current study, we use propensity score weighted path analysis to examine the relationship between the educational involvement of parents who do not have postsecondary credentials and the college enrollment of their high school-aged child. By analyzing a nationally representative panel dataset, we found that parents’ college experience is indirectly related to their child’s college enrollment. College socialization parental involvement when a child is in the 11th grade plays a pivotal role in mediating the effect of school- and home-based parental involvement in the ninth grade on the child’s college enrollment. The findings highlight the importance of parental involvement for a high school-aged child’s postsecondary enrollment even when the parents do not have postsecondary credentials and suggest viable ways to empower parents to effectively support their child’s postsecondary enrollment.
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The data that support the findings of this study are available from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under licence for the current study and so are not publicly available. The data are, however, available from the authors upon reasonable request and with the permission of IES.
1Using the public-use data, sampling weights, and the 200 balanced repeated replication weights, we conducted supplemental analyses and found that parents with and without a postsecondary credential differed in the frequency of using parental involvement across all types, following the factor structure of our parental involvement measures (t = [.09, .66], p = [< .001, .03], df = 5960). Since a systematic comparison between parents with and without a postsecondary credential is beyond the scope of the current study, we encourage researchers in the future to take a comparative lens to understand the practice of parental involvement between parents of varying highest levels of education.
Headcounts are masked to the nearest ten per NCES’ data masking policy when reporting data from the restricted-use data.
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This study is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (MOST 110-2410-H-003-136-MY3). The authors want to thank Yen-Ming Huang for the comments on earlier drafts. The use of restricted-use data in the current study and the manuscript has been approved by the Institute of Education Sciences for disclosure. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency. Correspondence should be directed to Hsun-Yu Chan. Email: email@example.com.
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Chan, HY., Hu, X. Parental Involvement and College Enrollment: Differences Between Parents with Some and No College Experience. Res High Educ 64, 1217–1249 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-023-09744-9