Tuesday, July 24, 2018

By Sara Nelson

Parental involvement facilitates collegiate success for their offspring.

This is the conclusion of an analysis done as part of a white paper written by Kayla Reed-Fitzke, assistant professor in Couple and Family Therapy in the University of Iowa College of Education.

This paper “Student Persistence Increases with Parent Engagement” analyzes the impact parental involvement has on college retention. 

In collaboration with Nick Peterson at Abilene Christian University (ACU) and CampusESP, Fitzke studied 396 students whose parents were connected to an online portal and could access financial aid, billing, and enrollment information, and 597 students whose parents were not connected via the online portal. 

The team discovered that parental connection via online portal increased retention amongst undergraduates. 82.5 percent of the 396 students who were connected with their parents were retained, while only 74.2 percent of those not connected were retained. 

“What we’re seeing is that there are effective ways of utilizing parents’ engagement in a way that is meant to minimize over-bearing or over-reaching behavior,” says Fitzke.

The study also revealed that active parental engagement in the portal, such as interacting with content after receiving alerts, was more impactful than merely being connected. 

“This offers a way for parents to actively respond and check in with their students and help them pick up on any early warning signs like changing a major or having a delinquent hold on an account,” says Fitzke.

Fitzke hopes to see this research continued at multiple universities of all sizes and types to strengthen the research and enhance the effectiveness of such programs.

Read the full paper on the CampusESP website.