What parents think about higher education

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By Susan Pohorski

A recent study by the Wisconsin Technical College System found 46 percent of middle and high school parents mention technical colleges (unprompted) as a viable option for higher education. One in three parents said they would recommend a technical college for their sons and daughters.

Although four-year public institutions are the top choice of parents surveyed with 80 percent saying these are top of mind, the research also found that most Wisconsin parents (82 percent) do not believe all high school students will benefit from a four-year degree. Parents view technical colleges as affordable, close to home, providing hands-on learning where their child can earn a degree in less than four years.

What do parents want for their children? They want a place where their son or daughter can learn skills they need to support themselves. Sixty-eight percent said they are looking for an institution with a strong career or job placement record and one where their son or daughter will find their career passion.

Parents’ overall top concern for children after graduation is the ability to finance education, as 39 percent of parents mentioned this as troubling. This is up significantly from the 2010 study when 30 percent of parents identified this as a top concern.

The telephone survey collected information from 500 parents throughout the state on higher education options for their children.

What’s your opinion? Are technical colleges on your list of higher education options?