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.

Community College Students Do Not Get Federal Financial Aid

The percent of community college students who apply for federal student aid rose 37% between 2001 and 2006, but only half the students apply for federal aid. 4 year college students apply at a rate of about 80% more- see EconomicDiversity.org. Community college students find the aid application process daunting and unclear since they are part time and have little counseling. Moreover, many community colleges have insufficient student services to help students apply. The rates of application in Californias community colleges are all over the map depending on local college priorities.
A new study by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School research found many students from Chicago could have gone to 4 year colleges, but found the aid application process "too intimadating". College completion is much higher at four year colleges.Latinos in Chicago were particularly unlikely to apply for aid at 4 year colleges that they were qualified to attend.
High schools need to do more to help these students apply and create a culture of pursuing financial aid.

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