I will only tell you my experience. My father was extremely verbally abusive to me. He was also an alcoholic. The things he said to/about me were disgusting and imprinted on my psyche .
I went on to be the first person in my very large extended family to get a college degree. I did it on my own and with a great deal of obstacles put in my path by my parents-- they wouldn't fill out the FAFSA (I did it using tax returns I found). They charged me rent when I came home to work in the summer. They never paid one penny toward my degree. They made it clear I wouldn't finish college and that I didn't have what it took to be a teacher.
I proved them wrong.
Years later, after I had my children, I realized that while my dad was the active abuser, my mother played, what I saw as, a bigger abusive role. You see while my father, an alcoholic, was obviously abusive, my mother -sober- allowed me to be be abused time and time again.
It took years of therapy to get past what both my parents did. And, if I'm honest, I see my mom as more culpable. I forgave them but I can never get back the lack of love and support I know I deserved and was denied.
And, when it was revealed that my ex abused his privilege to be the father of our children it solidified my belief that our marriage wasn't working and it was over. Childhood traumas have a tendency to play out in our adult lives until they get resolved.
I know if your son wants a college education he will find a way to achieve it-- no matter the roadblocks.