Here’s What Parents Are Telling Us About Their Students Going to College Next Fall

None of us know exactly what the fall will bring. Of course we would all love our teens to return to their colleges and continue learning on campus, with their classmates, and their sports and clubs and all of the myriad things they do at school.

Colleges are trying mightily to figure things out, but most have not yet reached the point where they have concrete answers. Many are modeling a variety of scenarios that would allow them to bring students back in a responsible way. Right now it’s just too early to tell what any given school will do. But, the ideas being considered run the gamut from full-on, in-person school to online school with many hybrid models also being investigated.   

In the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook group, we’ve seen a number of threads with parents discussing what they will do if the fall brings continued online schooling. Many wonder if online education is worth the high tuition. Are you paying for an education or for a degree? How do we factor in the loss of the social experience which features so large in our kids’ overall college life? What is the palatable price tag for online learning?

student studying on her bed
What will students and families do if college is only offered online in the fall? (Twenty20 @lira_n4)

Will Students Attend College if it is Only Offered Online?

We wondered what our parents would do if schools ultimately decide on an online learning format for the fall. So, we asked our group of over 157,000 parents of college-age kids what they would do if schools offered only online education only in the fall. 

Results of Grown and Flown Parents Survey

  1. The vast majority of our parents (73%), said that their kids would attend their colleges as if the colleges were in regular session. Many commented that paying full tuition for online learning seems like a lot but they would be happy to save on room and board. They don’t really see a viable alternative. 
  1. A smaller, but significant percent (18%) said that it is simply too hard to answer the question in the current information void. They feel like they need to know more before they make up their minds. 
  1. Four percent of those surveyed said that their college student would sit out an online semester. While this percent may not seem like a huge number, if you extrapolate, four percent is a lot of students and will certainly impact colleges’ bottom lines. Some parents mentioned that they simply thought the delta between in-person learning and remote learning was too wide to justify the high tab. Others cited their student’s difficulty with online learning.
  1. Two percent of our parents said that their students would choose a local, more affordable option. A handful of parents suggested that their kids would take a few classes online next semester just to keep them occupied until the colleges get back to in-person classes. 

So, while the overwhelming majority of our parents said that they would either encourage their students to continue to learn online or they needed more information to make that decision, a sizable number indicated that online learning would not work for them or their children.

More to Read:

After a Spring Without Them, I Promise Never to Complain About High School Sports Again

Is Your Teen Struggling with Online Learning? Six Things They Can Do to Get Through This

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

Read more posts by Helene

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.