The study found Latinos were the least likely to apply to four-year schools and suggests that's because they come from homes with less income and are reluctant to leave home because of strong family ties.
Schools CEO Arne Duncan says more of his graduates are moving on to universities. But he agrees college financial aid forms need to be simplified.
"This is many more pages than getting a bank loan. We want to help create a form that would encourage students to go onto college and not be a barrier to entry," said Duncan.
Researchers say teachers and school culture had more of an impact on whether students go to four-year colleges than parents.