Leader: Study is a family affair

April 23, 2004

The Sodexho/ Times Higher lifestyle survey is almost as revealing about parents as it is about students. It shows that more teenagers than ever are taking advice from home about where to study, relying on their families for money once they get there, or choosing not to leave them at all. For many there is no choice - living at home is a financial necessity - but the rise in parental involvement is no less striking. Not so long ago, parental pressure would have forced more such students into full-time employment instead. Part of the explanation dates back to the switch from grants to loans. Parents naturally take the trouble to become better-informed when they are bearing more of the cost. Perhaps more important, parents of this generation are more likely than their predecessors to be graduates with an understanding of and interest in their children's higher education. Whatever lies behind the change, the survey flies in the face of ministerial insistence that all students can be treated as independent adults, regardless of background.

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