Shawn Jones
· Thoughts

Parents have the biggest say in deciding which university their children will attend

Deciding to spend three-years in higher-education and gaining a degree was always seen as a sure-fire way to get in to higher paid careers, but recently fewer parents are willing to support their children's choice of university.

Decreasing numbers of parents agree that attending university is the 'correct' journey to a better paid job and a period of time for their children to mature. Instead, consumer issues of affordability and value for money are becoming more dominant in decision making.

To the frustration of universities, who's marketing departments tend to target children, parents have now moved to the front and centre in choosing where their child will study.

This means universities need to consider:

  • how they create and position their marketing material
  • how to reach post-16 influencers
  • the high expectations from parents and students in getting value for money

Parents now appear to care more than past generations about their child’s study path and satisfaction at university. There is also an increased concern about the levels of student debt being taken on (which is funding the exorbitant salaries of university management), especially with their parents being unable to pay it off for them. There is also worry about entering a highly-competitive job market later than non-university goers.

The process of deciding on where to study as an undergraduate has changed a lot. It's time for higher education institutions to realise they must look in to the buying behaviour of their customers — where parents are key decision makers — in order to successfully recruit and retain new students.