Influence of parents socio-economic background on students academic achievement in tertiary institution

The influence of parents socio-economic background on students academic achievement in tertiary institution



  • Background of the Study

In any given society or institution, people are differentiated from each other in numerous ways which are sometimes categorized by many characteristics which includes capacity, wealth, poverty, intellect, power and prestige. As the society is stratified between The Haves and The Haves NOT, some Learners come from a wealthy family while other learners come from a poor background; whichever Family they come from may sometimes determine and influence their achievement and failures in Academic Performance.

However, since the university is an umbrella that houses students from various parental backgrounds; their parents’ social and economic background can have positive or negative influence on their academic achievement.

There are societal factors which may help enhance or deprive the academic performance of a Learner as listed below:-

  • The role of family/parents/guardians on learners academics
  • Parents Educational Qualification
  • Hereditary Factor
  • The social sitting or mode of settlement of the family
  • The influence/effect of LOW/HIGH socio-economic status of parents

The development of any nation starts from the FAMILY.  The family is an important organ in the society. People are born and trained physically, socially, educationally, spiritually (religious aspects), vocationally for their future to become independent or self reliant. The family displays a considerable economic, social, cultural, political and educational variability to their Children.

When family succeeds in teaching and impacting good values in their children, the country becomes a better place to live. As a child grows up and moves out to the interesting wider society, his/her interaction with it and perception of it are largely determined from his/her earlier experiences at home.

It is the first stage in which the education of a child begins.

According to



Education is the best legacy any parent can give their children. Parents’ educational qualification can also serve as influence to affect academic performance of their children. Parents with standard educational achievements can serve as Good models for their children.

Raymond B. in Haralambos (1981), states a fresh perspective on the relationship between social class and educational attainment. He argues that inequality of educational opportunity is a primary effect of stratification.

Firstly, parents compete for high quality educational opportunities for their children and better educational opportunities, lead to better academic performance.

Secondly, parenting behavior and educational support for their children could cultivate children’s learning habits and affect academic achievement.


Hereditary factor is the transmission of the physical and genetic qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological laws by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants.

Orhungur  (1990) says intelligence is heritable.  Children’s intelligence will correlate with that of their parents.

Traits of the parents are passed on to their children through genes and it can also be responsible for a Childs natural IQ, when the IQ of the parents is passed on to the child through the genes, it covers positively academic excellence to a large extent.



The social sitting or mode of settlement of the family and extended family system may equally influence the academic performance of a child and by extension, their educational upbringing.  The family setting and its socializing influence mould the personality of the child. Motivation is most essential in order to perform more efficiently in their areas of endeavors when certain factors are eminent in a child’s family background, it is clear that the child will be motivated and driven towards high academic goal.

Denga  (198six) in  Eyake  (1997) advised that praises, incentives, recommendations and other forms of reward system should be employed as motivational factors to stimulate students to higher achievements academically. It is likely that the much a child achieves during his/her school days are largely dependent on the kind of family to which he/she belongs. For instance, a child whose parents take a great interest in what he/she does at school and give him/her necessary support by providing all the required books and finances needed has a great advantage over a child whose parents do not give him/her this kind of incentives and encouragements.

More so, students’ attitudes to learning and educational performance are shaped by the kind of stimuli offered to them by various environments which could be considered in terms of the type of family, the home, parental social orientation, educational level, occupation to mention but a few.



Socio-economic status is an index of one’s overall social status or prestige in society. It is widely reported that socio-economic background of the parent has direct impact on the students’ academic achievement (Adekeyi, 2002; David, 2007; Ezewu, 2003; Farrant, 200four; Hurlock, 2005; Ogunsola & Adewale 2012; Stones 200four) as rich parents could afford high-fee schools, textbooks, extra lessons, good feeding and upkeep money at school and domestic servants at home to relieve the students of house chores; while students from poor homes take up part-time jobs to supplement their income while in school.

In most families, either one or none of the parent may be earning income sufficient enough to sustain the family, faced with malnutrition and other emotional and psychological effects. Orhunger (1990) adds that a low income family with plenty of feeding problems may produce children whose physical and mental development poses real challenges to the school effort at optimum development of the student.


  • Statement of the Problem

There are alarming cases of performance variation on standard academic achievement among students in tertiary institutions. It has been noticed among students of the same level that some perform excellently well academically while some students perform below standard. This awakens a great source of worry to the parents, lecturers, heads of departments, educational and curriculum planners, the government and so many others who in various aspects are responsible for the education received by the students in tertiary institutions.

The number of students who are withdrawn, some on probation struggling with extremely low GPAs and some end up spending an extra year or two and those who are dropping out of school voluntarily or vice versa due to some unforeseen circumstances is on the increasing rate of the score board. The situation does not help the society to achieve the aids/aims and objectives of education. It has created social imbalance in the society

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