U of S report finds parental education level predicts children's post-secondary education participation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 26, 2012 2012-01-08-OTHER Regardless of their income status, parents who lack a post-secondary education are not likely to see their children pursue college or university studies. This is the key finding in a recently completed University of Saskatchewan report entitled Accessibility and Affordability Report 2011 that examined the accessibility of a university education in Canada and Saskatchewan.

"The report clearly demonstrates the need to reach out to kids whose parents do not have degrees or diplomas and mentor them at an early age," said Brett Fairbairn, University of Saskatchewan Provost and Vice-President Academic. "If we are not in their elementary and high school classrooms providing support, it will not matter how many bursaries or scholarships we make available—these young people simply won't come to university."
Much of the conversation about accessibility to post-secondary education has focused on tuition rates and other costs, but the Accessibility and Affordability Report 2011 shows that non-financial barriers are key to understanding why some youth choose not to pursue post-secondary education.
"Saskatchewan has made substantial investments in financial assistance to post-secondary students, such as the recently announced Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarships," said Fairbairn. "This study indicates that the conversation now needs to shift to address the very significant non-financial barriers."
Saskatchewan has a large number of rural and Aboriginal youth who don't have family members with post-secondary education. With the release of this report, Fairbairn believes the university is ready to begin work on new initiatives to address the barriers.
"We are already running some programs designed to target this problem, such as our Kamskénow mentoring program," said Fairbairn. "But this is just a beginning, and I'm eager to have a conversation about accessibility with my colleagues across all levels of the education sector and within communities across the province. We must do more and help thousands of young people to become the first in their family to complete a diploma or degree."
A pdf copy of the Accessibility and Affordability Report 2011 is available at www.usask.ca/ip/access.
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For further information, contact:
Robin Mowat
Communications Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-7815
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