Children of divorced parents are half as likely to complete college as those whose parents remain married. Divorce has devastating effects on children. In the US, half of all marriages end in divorce. There are even divorce seasons; family separations tend to happen at two distinct times of the year. Children of divorced parents may struggle with a variety of emotional issues, but surprisingly, they are also less likely to complete a 4-year degree.
A new study conducted at Iowa State University found that just 27 percent of young people with divorced parents had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 50 percent of those with married parents. The researchers found similar results when they looked at the statistics for advanced degrees; only 12 percent of young people with divorced parents had or were working toward a graduate or professional degree, compared to 20 percent whose parents were married.
It is not clear exactly why children of divorced parents are at a disadvantage when it comes to completing higher education. Past research has found that divorced parents and married parents have similar expectations for their kids, so different levels of parental encouragement is probably not it.
It could be the issue of tuition. College is expensive, but it's not generally factored into divorce settlements. Young people attending University are almost always older than 18, so legally, they are financially responsible for themselves.
The researchers did find that couples who remain married tend to be more highly educated than those who divorced. This indicates that young people could be less likely to earn a degree because their parents did not. It's possible that the divorce itself has nothing to do with the actual statistics.
Those who have a desire to pursue higher education ought to have the means to do so. Not everyone has to go to college, but it should be an opportunity for all. If income hits from divorce stop that from happening, perhaps settlements need to change to take this expense into account.