Involving the family in higher education: do they really matter?

Catherine Foster, Helen Higson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an ever-changing higher education (HE) environment, institutions are seeing the involvement of parents in students' education increasing. This may partly be due to tuition fees and the introduction of deferred variable tuition fees ("top-up fees") from 2006, and also because of the increased number of students choosing to remain in the family home for the duration of their studies. Many students see their families as the most important source of motivation and advice right through from school age to when they make decisions about HE. In the light of this increase in involvement, institutions need to provide information about, and access to, university to ensure that families are fully prepared and able to support their children throughout the university experience. In recognition of the vital role parents play, the Involving the Family project focuses on parents or key family members from groups currently under-represented in HE in order to increase their awareness and understanding of HE. This article evaluates research undertaken to investigate the views, perceptions and key concerns held by minority ethnic parents with regards to their children and participation in HE. The article then details how these results were utilised in the development of the Involving the Family project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalWidening Participation and Lifelong Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


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