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.

Unintended Consequences of State Merit Aid Upon College Preparation and College Stem Course Taking

In prior blogs I have cautioned that state merit aid programs based on high secondary school grades may discourage students from taking difficult courses where they may get low grades. This will inhibit college success and college completion. Kentucky is concerned about this and now we have a study of Floridas merit aid program- Bright Futures- that found the worries have a basis in college course taking as well.. A study by Fla State U professor Shouping Hu shows a decline in Science and math courses at Fla colleges from students who got state scholarships from before and after Bright Futures started. Students need high college grades to maintain their aid.
This study is suggestive not conclusive, but much more research is needed because a lot of state money is devoted to these merit aid programs. Redesign of state aid may be necessary. The study is in May 29 issue of Inside Higher Ed.

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