The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
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.

Gates Foundation Announces New Focus on College Completion

The long awaited roll out of the new Gates funding strategy ( on their website) focuses on a major theme of this blog-low college completion rates particularly at 2 year colleges. Major investments are planned with a surprising focus on internal incentives for colleges to improve college completion. This is largely uncharted territory with little known about how to reward colleges for increasing student attainment of diplomas and vocational certificates. Moreover, Gates wants to change student aid so students get more money if they finish their college programs. Part of Gates strategy is to find ways to accelerate remediation ,so students do not give up.
All of these goals are good, but I am not sure about the techniques to attain them. An R&D strategy should be part of the package. Big money for community college is a new priority for Gates.

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