College aspirations among rural left-behind children in China: Do parental involvement and households financial contributions matter?

Open Access
Chen, Zixi
Graduate Program:
Educational Theory and Policy
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Suet Ling Pong, Thesis Advisor
  • Left-behind children in China
  • College aspiration
  • Parental involvement
  • Household financial contribution
The effects of parental migration on left-behind children’s educational outcomes are still under debate in China. Employing the Chinese Family Panel Studies wave 2010, this study explored the association between college aspiration of rural Chinese left-behind children (ages 10-15) and parental involvement and household financial contribution to their children’s education. This study found that the physical absence of migrant parents does not become a barrier to being involved in their children’s education, and there are no significantly lower college aspirations of left-behind children compared with their non-left-behind counterparts. Particular parental involvement behaviors and household financial contribution, for example, communicating with children about school and saving money for their children’s future education, help motivate children to pursue higher education, regardless of their parents’ migration status. Moreover, parental concern for their children’s education has an even stronger association with left-behind children. In order to motivate children’s college aspirations, policy makers should encourage rural Chinese parents who are at home or at a distance to develop sufficient parental involvement strategies and financial support for their children’s education.