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.

Broad Access College Enrollment Surges, But Funds Are Cut

In a recession more adults enroll in college, but almost all the selective sector does not grow much. Flagship state universities are expensive, so growth is funneled to nonselective 2 and 4 year colleges.Community colleges take the brunt of enrollment surges, but states and localities are cutting their budgets. So transition from high school suffers as counselors are reduced, class sizes enlarged, and adjunct professors hired. Lower percentages of students will complete college because of the reasons above, but also they cannot get the classes they need for their educational objectives. So the enrollment door is open, but not the path to college success.
The New york Times has a good summary of this on page A22 today with some vocations in New York city surging by 30% this year alone. Community college enrollment is up to 81,000 this year from 62,000 in 1999, but budgets have been cut twice this year and more coming.
Broad access colleges also have many strings on the public money they get, and are regulated similar to k12 state education codes. The most flexibility is in the selective college sector. These issues of finance and regulation in postsecondary to not receive the same attention as the equity and adequacy movement in k12.

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