Reach Higher System Impact Grant

Important Dates

Application Release: Funding opportunity made available in June, 2019.
Phase 1 Michigan Postsecondary Strategy Institute Application (MPSI): Applicants are required to send a team of four to MPSI as part of the planning process for the Reach Higher System Impact Grant. Phase 1 is to complete the application for MPSI.  
Phase 1 Deadline: Phase 1 applications are due September 1, 2019.
MPSI Acceptance: Teams will be notified of their acceptance to attend MPSI and move beyond Phase 1 by September 15, 2019.
MPSI Registration: Full team registration must be completed by October 15, 2019.
MPSI: November 4th-5th in East Lansing at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.
Phase 2 Project Application: The second phase of the Reach Higher High School grant application will open following acceptance and registration of a school's full team for MPSI.
Phase 2 Deadline: Phase 2 applications are due January 5, 2020.
Final Application Notification: Applicants will be notified of their award status by February 3, 2020.


High schools that have successfully completed two years of the Reach Higher High School grant program and maintained compliance are eligible to apply for Phase 1 of the Reach Higher System Impact grant.  Eligibility questions should be directed to: Jamie Jacobs, Senior Director or High School Innovation, Michigan College Access Network (517-316-1713, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Grant Priorities

MCAN is seeking innovative, aggressive, reform-minded high school applicants with buy-in, engagement, and formal participation from the building principal and school counseling staff for the Reach Higher System Impact grant.   High Schools with a plan to implement a bold systems change initiative, developed utilizing local quantitative and qualitative data, to improve metrics around college and career readiness should consider applying.

Phase 1: Michigan Postsecondary Strategy Institute (MPSI)

The Michigan Postsecondary Success Institute will help school districts develop their internal capacity to support every student toward attaining a successful postsecondary pathway. MPSI will employ a holistic approach based on the integration of three critical components:

  • A district postsecondary framework & strategy—School leadership has a clear plan for increasing student postsecondary outcomes that is tied to measurable data points.
  • A data strategy—Connecting student information with state datasets, analyzing data by subgroups, and using data to identify where strategies need to be developed.
  • Engagement of counselors as leaders—School empowers counselors to lead the postsecondary access work within their schools, engaging partners in the process

Each participating school district will be required to bring a team of four (4) consisting of at least one senior administrator, the building principal, and a school counselor to MPSI.  Participation is required to move forward to phase 2.

Phase 2: Systems Change Project

The Michigan College Access Network 2017-2021 Strategic Plan outlines MCANs strategies for addressing four priority areas: Foster a College-going Culture; Identify Multiple Postsecondary Education Pathways and Facilitate Smooth Transitions; Improve College Affordability; and Support Credential Completion.

Priority One: Foster a College-Going Culture
Residents across our state believe college is very important to succeed in the labor market. In every high school across the state, professionals support this belief and help all students define and achieve their postsecondary goals.

       Examples of Targeted Focus Strategies

  • Staff expansion focused on postsecondary education planning
  • 9-12th grade advisory period curriculum in postsecondary education awareness/planning/navigation
  • Dedicated course(s) in postsecondary education awareness/planning/navigation

Priority Two: Identify Multiple Postsecondary Education Pathways and Facilitate Smooth Transitions
All students graduating from a Michigan high school understand their postsecondary options, and they enroll in a postsecondary institution that is a good match or fit for their aspirations, academic readiness, and career ambitions.

       Examples of Targeted Focus Strategies

  • Strategic Educational Development Plan implementation with an emphasis on postsecondary education pathways
  • Systematic approach for addressing Summer Melt
  • K-12/Higher Education partnership focused on Guided Pathways/transfer planning

Priority Three: Improve College Affordability
All students graduating from a Michigan high school will have the financial knowledge, literacy, and readiness to understand the costs and benefits of postsecondary education. Students will also have the resources, advising, and coaching they need to enroll in and efficiently complete their degree or certificate program. 

       Examples of Targeted Focus Strategies

  • Required Financial Literacy coursework focused on college financial planning
  • Systemic award letter/financial aid screening and gap closing

Priority Four: Support Credential Completion

All students who enroll in college will attain a postsecondary degree or certificate, while minimizing their time to completion.

       Examples of Targeted Focus Strategies

  • K-12/Higher Education partnership focused on remediation avoidance
  • Alumni success coaching
  • Systematic expansion of early college credit taking opportunities (AP/IB, Dual Enrollment, Early/Middle College, articulated CTE)

With the Reach Higher System Impact grant, MCAN seeks to align the investment of high school innovation resources in Priority Areas with a particular interest in the Targeted Focus Strategies.  Applicants demonstrating that one or more of the Priority Areas are clearly aligned and a significant part of the proposed project focus and intended outcomes will receive priority consideration and extra points for submitting an application within the designated Priority Areas.

Applications focusing outside of the example Targeted Focus Strategies will still be reviewed and considered.  Applications focusing outside the designated Priority Areas are unlikely to be considered.

Grant Award

MCAN expects a highly competitive grant process.  Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to approximately 10 high schools within Michigan.  The actual level of funding provided will be subject to the availability of funds.  The grant funding period is 18 months, with a start date of March 1, 2020 and an end date of August 30, 2021.  Continuation funding for subsequent years is not guaranteed and is dependent upon availability of funds and satisfactory performance.  The project start date may occur prior to the grant award start date; however, grant funding cannot be utilized prior to the grant start date of March 1, 2020.

Proposal Submission

Proposals are only accepted using Michigan College Access Network’s online grants system. To apply to for all high school grant competitions, visit, or select the "Apply Now" button below. 


Application Assistance

You are encouraged to contact MCAN to inquire about eligibility and to request technical assistance. Please contact Senior Director of High School Innovation at jamie(a) or call (517) 316-1713 for assistance with your application or for help with the online application portal. 

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