For many parents, successfully shepherding students from birth through age 18 and finally dropping them off at a decent college is both an accomplishment and a time to perhaps take a step back from the most intense responsibilities of child rearing.

But a new book describes how for many parents, schlepping Target TGT, +0.48% sheets and lamps into a dorm room is just the beginning of a new leg of the journey in which they’ll help their child navigate higher education. Thanks in part to dwindling state funding for public colleges and universities, students’ success at many of these colleges is largely dependent on parents, argues Laura Hamilton, an associate professor at University of California-Merced, in her book “Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College Women’s Success.”

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