The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Universities Set New Goals For College Completion

Twenty state university systems are working together to craft plans to cut the minority college graduation gap in half by 2015. These systems such as State University System of Florida educate about 12% of the students in the nations four year colleges. They all have much higher graduation rates for whites and Asians than for other racial and ethnic groups. Some state universities like Towson in Maryland have already met completion goals
It remains to be seen whether this is a real committment or just more goal setting. One of the strategies is to manage college costs, so that colleges can spend more on initiatives to increase college completion. Colleges have been unable to control their costs in the past, in part because their model is to keep labor costs so high compared to lower cost use of technology. But this initiative will require universities to report on their goals in a more transparent way than before. A decade ago the California State University trustees set a goal of eliminating remediation, but it has declined only to 56% from 60% for their students entering from high school. See www.edtrust.org for more details.

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