students during graduation

This website provides comprehensive resources for families who are parenting through the college years. Content is designed to provide parents of college students with information and tools to support and empower successful transitions to college, increasing responsibility, and good decision-making skills. Topics included are listed in the left-hand column throughout the website. Downward arrows  will provide additional navigation information.

COVID-19 Updates

As nearly all colleges and universities transitioned to remote learning during March 2020 and subsequently spent the summer planning for an uncertain fall semester, we wanted to understand how parents of college students were experiencing these decisions and transitions. We designed a study to understand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the family’s role in their students’ college experiences.

The Department of Family Social Science and Minnesota Extension at the University of Minnesota partnered with the professional organization AHEPPP: Family Engagement in Higher Education (AHEPPP) to recruit and survey parents from across the country to understand the impact that the pandemic has made on the family’s role in their students’ college experience.

We surveyed parents twice during 2020 and once in 2021. 
Click here to read the summary report from Summer 2020. 
Click here to read the summary report from Fall 2020. 
Click here to read the summary report from Fall 2021. 

Right now, students and families are struggling to make decisions about college in an environment of rapid change and uncertainty:

  • Students about to start their first year of college are making hard decisions about whether to attend classes in person or online. The excitement of college is dimmed by announcements that social experiences on campus will be limited and distanced. College and universities are still unable to promise what fall semester will look like.
  • Current students are facing similar choices about attending in person or online. They’re likely to be separated from their friends, and they’re being warned against the activities and parties that highlighted campus life. They’re rethinking majors and career options, and some are considering dropping out of school or transferring to a college closer to home.
  • Parents are trying to measure the cost of college against the value their student will be receiving. Many are unsure how they will pay for college if their income has decreased or if they fear losing their jobs. They’re trying to predict where life will be a few months into the future, when the future is not clear.

It’s important to recognize that college and university administrators and faculty are doing the best they can to get back on schedule. Schools will release information as conditions change, keeping the health and safety of students and staff as top priority.

Right now the best thing families can do is watch for updates and wait for guidance. Encourage your student to look for notices from their college and university and respond to any instructions they receive.

For now, this website provides information that students and families can use as talking points and action steps, no matter where your student is within the college experience.