Why 44% of parents plan to further their education

As children settle into school, their parents also plan to hit the books to put their dreams into action.

A survey of 2,000 parents looked at how many are thinking about furthering their education and found the pandemic prompted 62% of parents to realize life's too short to procrastinate when accomplishing their dreams. 

Forty-four percent of parents said they plan to return to college to learn something completely new, and over half believe that school could help refresh their perspective.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of UMass Global, nearly four in five respondents even think they'd be better students now than when they attended college. 

But chasing their dreams hasn't been easy for most parents.

Parents cited prioritizing their finances (49%) or starting a family (40%) as the top reasons for not achieving their goals sooner.

Only three in 10 parents have completed a degree related to their dream job in college. 

However, some tried to go after their dream career but didn't finish (11%), and 17% chose a realistic job option.

The study also revealed that three in four parents would now find it difficult to juggle school and family life.

With so many parents wanting to go forward with college, three in five parents worry that furthering their education would limit the time they get to spend with their loved ones. 

To find a balance, 77% of parents would feel most comfortable enrolling in programs that are either entirely online (47%) or hybrid classes (30%). 

"It's never too late to dust off an unrealized dream," said UMass Global Chancellor Gary Brahm. "Parents who are contemplating an online education for themselves will benefit most from faculty and student support teams who know how to guide a busy parent from enrollment to commencement."

Parents also agree that professional coaching is important, with 65% saying that they'd be more likely to consider enrolling in college if they had someone by their side to help them navigate the process.

While browsing for schools, half of parents said they have rediscovered their old passions such as "working with children," "pursuing a career in culinary and pastry arts," "interior decorating" or "own my own bar and bartend."

"Starting and running one's dream business is a complex endeavor," Brahm said. "You might be able to mix the best drinks in the world, but if you want to open your own bar, you need to make payroll. To be successful, entrepreneurs need relevant skills like business management, data analysis, information technology, leadership and marketing."

Parents listed other reasons why they want to further their education - saying "I want to complete my major, which I stepped away from to have children," "I need advancement in my current career," and "I need my kids to know education is important and how can I teach that if I don't do it myself?"