The long arm of the family – how growing up influences your chances to access and be successful in HE

We already know that there is a big effect of the parents’ education on access and success: Having an academic background means e.g. in Germany that your chances to go to university are above 80%, a non-academic background and the chances go down to 20-30%.

Now, InsideHigherEd reports that growing up in a single parent household is significant for access as well as success in HE, as well – and the disadvantage seems to be growing. “Income accounts for a lot of the relationship between family structure and educational attainment, according to the study. But income doesn’t account for all of it, and the authors had no answer for why single-parent family structure matters more now than it did a few decades ago.”

But the study can also be seen as an argument for more adult learners and second chance programmes in universities: “Reiterating the importance of a mother’s education in predicting educational attainment is valuable. That’s because while there are limits to what the government can do to influence marriage decisions, there are opportunities to encourage more educational opportunities for mothers, said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. One example he offers is providing child care at community colleges.”

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