Reach Higher High School Grants

 Request for Proposals

 Timeline   Program Need   The Model   Funding and Administration
 High School Expectations   Award Decisions   Grantees  Contact


Request for Proposals available: Monday, April 4, 2016

Application Deadline: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Schools Notified: Thursday, June 30, 2016

Program Begins: Monday, September 12, 2016


Program Context, History, and Need

Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) mobilizes state and local leaders to increase college readiness, participation, and completion in Michigan. MCAN is committed to coordinating various statewide initiatives (Michigan College Application Week, Michigan College Cash Campaign, and Michigan College Decision Day) that high schools can implement in their buildings at little or no cost.

We have seen tremendous growth in our statewide initiatives; however, each campaign is currently offered in isolation, requiring schools to sign up to participate in each one intermittently throughout the school year.  The current individual structure of our statewide initiatives limits schools’ ability to develop a coordinated, strategic effort to run interventions throughout the entire year. Further, the structure is limited in its ability to foster a broader school-wide college-going culture and to incorporate school staff at large. As a solution, MCAN launched the Reach Higher High School grant program in 2015. 


The Model

Reach Higher High Schools will address four essential elements of a high school strategy to build a college-going culture and improve college enrollment and completion outcomes.

  • Establish Postsecondary Advisory Council (PAC): Rather than one designated site coordinator for each initiative, schools will establish a dedicated team of professionals to lead the college access strategy. The team will include the principal, counselor(s), college adviser(s), teachers, as well as (if appropriate) higher education representatives (admissions, financial aid, outreach), and community-based organizations. The team will adopt a college-going vision for their high school and determine baseline levels on specific indicators. Schools will create and regularly update a dashboard to track metrics such as FAFSA completion, college applications, and enrollment.
  • Triad of College Access Events: Each PAC will plan and host a linked triad of college access events for seniors including College Application Week in the fall, College Cash Campaign in the winter (which will include systemic financial aid screening for name-by-name FAFSA completion), and College Decision Day in the spring.
  • Postsecondary Success Asset Mapping: Each PAC will participate in Postsecondary Success Asset Mapping (PSAM) - a research-based survey and set of tools that help schools better guide students toward successful college and career pathways - to evaluate the school's college going culture.
  • Reach Higher High School Self-Assessment: Each PAC will assess the current effectiveness of its college and career readiness counseling, support, and programming in two ways: (1) Staffing and Capacity – what the school is doing to ensure appropriate school counselor capacity, focus, and professional development opportunities, and (2) College-Going Culture and Programs – what is the school's building level strategy for improving college enrollment outcomes?


Funding and Administration

MCAN has secured an appropriation to provide $5,000 grants to 80 high schools, and additional match dollars to fund an additional 20 high schools, for a total of $5,000 grants available to 100 high schools over two cohorts. MCAN will administer the program, including issuing subgrants, receiving grant reports to monitor compliance, and providing training and technical assistance to participating schools. 


High School Partnership Expectations

MCAN is seeking a response from high school administrators and counselors who are dedicated to assembling a Postsecondary Advisory Council, coordinating a suite of college access interventions (including providing data by way of periodic reporting), conducting Postsecondary Success Asset Mapping to asses college-going culture, completing the Reach Higher High School rubric to assess college and career readiness and publicly displaying school-based metrics on a data dashboard. 


Award Decisions

Selected schools will be decided through a competitive review process that will take into consideration application strength, administration support, prior participation in MCAN statewide initiatives, and placement within an LCAN.

Please note that even if a school is not selected for funding, they will still be more than welcome to participate in the suite of statewide initiatives. All initiatives are designed to be implemented at no or low cost. 


Reach Higher High School Grantees Announced for 2016-17 

MCAN is excited to announce its second round of Reach Higher High School Grantees! After a very competitive grant review, 17 schools have been selected to join the Reach Higher program, which serves 100 high schools over two cohorts. Reach Higher High Schools will address four essential elements of a high school strategy to build a college-going culture and improve college enrollment and completion outcomes. 


For more information, contact Jamie Jacobs, director of capacity building, by sending an email to jamie(a) or by calling 517.316.1713.




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