The Parents Pool: Why Market Higher Education to Parents

Parents of today's college-age children are highly involved in many aspects of their life including their choice of school, the admissions process, and the entire college experience. Parents often hold great influence over their student's decisions and expect to have open lines of communication with their child concerning significant choices.

Families represent the largest consumer group today and Generation Z, children born between 1995 and 2009, account for nearly 26% of the U.S. population. This segment of the population represents a consumer market with a current spending power valued at $44 billion a year and will account for 40 percent of all consumers in the U.S. by 2020. The parents of Generation Z, like the Millennial generation before them, are highly involved in the lives of their children and are likely to act as advisers, providing opinions and recommendations.

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While Generation Z is the first generation to grow up in a digital world, parents continue to be a major influence on their life decisions. Generation Z generally gathers information from various sources when making a decision, but still relies heavily on their parent's recommendations and recognizes them as the perfect resource.

According to CNN, the funding for a students college education is a combination of scholarships, income, savings, and loans.

Approximately 23% of a student’s tuition cost comes from their parent’s income and savings.

Parents spend an average of $5,500 annually on their child's college education with most of it coming directly from their income, while 13% of them use money from a college savings plan, and 8% using money from other investments or savings plans.

Parents of today's college-age student have a tremendous amount of sway in their child's decisions. Open lines of communication and a willingness of students to seek out and accept their parent's opinion makes parents a prime influencer. Parental investment in the education of their child gives them significant control over the students choice of school, program, and living arrangements, making parents a prime marketing demographic target.