Parents' level of education: a key determinant of participation in higher education

News Release - Across Canada, the fact that no one in the family has a college or university education is a considerably greater barrier to participation in higher education than family income. In fact, according to two new studies commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), a single year of parental education has a more positive effect on a son or daughter's likelihood of attending post-secondary school. that 50,000 $ more family income.

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PRESS RELEASE, Feb. 8 / CNW / - Throughout Canada, the fact that no one in the family has a college or university education is a considerably greater barrier to participation in higher education than family income. In fact, according to two new studies commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), a single year of parental education has a more positive effect on the odds of a son or daughter attending post-secondary education than 50,000 $ more of family income.

According to the following two studies, Access to Post-Secondary Education: Comparison between Ontario and Other Regions andUnder-Represented Groups in Postsecondary Education: Evidence from the Youth in Transition Survey, being from a low-income family is an even lower barrier for Ontario students to attend college or university than in the rest of Canada. If the parents' level of education was an important determining factor across Canada, college or university participation in Atlantic Canada and Quebec was more associated with family income than elsewhere. In addition, nationally, the effects of family income were more pronounced for women than for men.

Both studies drew on data from the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS), a longitudinal survey conducted jointly by Statistics Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which examines important transitions in the lives of young people, including particularly with regard to studies, training and work.

The role of parental education "fundamentally challenges our thinking about 'barriers' to attending post-secondary education," writes study co-author Ross Finnie. “It may not be so much that young people from low-income families are not able higher education, but they also often come from families whose parents do not have a post-secondary diploma. What really matters most is not family income, but the transmission of values favoring the pursuit of post-secondary studies, preparation for PSE and other factors associated with parents' level of education. There is growing consensus, Finnie said, that early childhood and other cultural causes are perhaps the most important determinants.

"The potential scope of the political consequences is considerable," he said. Instead of devoting other resources to alleviating financial constraints, like tuition fees, loans, and grants, perhaps we should focus more on improving student motivation and performance in high school (or earlier). , to better inform students and their families about the costs and benefits of education from an early age and to resort to other interventions targeting these family agents, deeply rooted from childhood, which appear to be the most determining factors of access to higher education. "

Ross Finnie is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs from the University of Ottawa and director of the new Education Policy Research Initiative. Study co-authors Stephen Childs and Andrew Wismer participate in the Education Policy Research Initiative as researchers.

From the source: Hear from study co-author Ross Finnie, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, and Richard Wiggers, Director of Research at HEQCO (music video in english).

About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is an arm's length agency of the Government of Ontario that strives to continually improve Ontario's post-secondary education system. The Council was established under the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005. As part of its mandate, the Council conducts research, evaluates the post-secondary education system and recommends policies to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities with a view to improving the quality, accessibility and accountability of the Ontario's higher education system.

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