College students’ finances are of “extreme” or “great concern” to nearly half of the 1,727 respondents to the Second Annual National Survey on the Current College Parent Experience, which was conducted online from February 23 through March 5, 2007.

Approximately one-half of the respondents were made up of those of you who receive this weekly e-mail and who reside in the College Parents of America database. The other half of respondents came from parents who are part of the Student Advantage, LLC database, a College Parents of America partner since 2005.

In responses that were parallel across both databases, parents of current college students showed that they are in frequent contact with their child at college, with nearly 70 percent of the respondents communicating with their son or daughter at least two to three times per week.

Consistent with the results from the first annual such survey in March 2006, cell phones are by far the preferred method of communication, with more than 80 percent of parent respondents saying that a “cell phone conversation” is “very frequently” or “frequently” the method they employ to stay in touch with their child. Only 3 percent of the respondents said that they “rarely” or “never” spoke via cell phone.

What are all those cell phone conversations about?

As noted above, student finances are of paramount concern to those respondents among you who are current college parents, with that and health and safety issues topping a list of choices that also included academics, campus or community involvement opportunities, career planning and personal relationships.

Those parental money concerns seem to be in sync with students, as respondents to the survey report that finances also tops the list of topics on which their college student has “most requested advice or assistance” in the past year, followed by academics, and a near dead-heat between health/safety and career planning, with advice requested on personal relationships at the bottom of the heap.

In another finding that echoes last year’s debut survey, more than 80 percent of parents surveyed report that their level of involvement with their student is “much more” or “more” than their own parents had with them while they were in college.

Several questions in the survey formed a section that was intended to get at the awareness and satisfaction of current college parents when it comes to relationships with the colleges and universities that are educating their sons and daughters. In recent years, many schools have created parent communication tools or opened parent relations offices in order to better serve this current group of more involved parents.

The survey results demonstrate that parents are noticing these increased efforts on the part of institutions of higher education. For instance, more than half of the survey respondents report that their student’s school offers a parent-oriented website and more than two-thirds say that the school hosts an orientation specifically for the benefit of parents.