25 Michigan high schools receive MCAN ‘Reach Higher High School’ grants

Posted at 9:48 AM, Nov 08, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced that $175,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 25 high schools across the state to improve college enrollment and completion outcomes. The schools received between $5,000 and $10,000 in grants to focus on creating and sustaining a college-going culture in an effort to improve postsecondary education outcomes. Since the Reach Higher grant program’s inception in 2015, MCAN has awarded more than $1.6 million to high schools.

“These schools play an important role in sparking change and facilitating systems change necessary to increase college readiness, participation and completion within their communities,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN.

Year 1: Reach Higher High School Grant

Grant funding supports assembling a Postsecondary Advisory Council, coordinating a suite of college access interventions, assessing the college-going culture and school counseling capacity, and collecting and analyzing disaggregated student outcomes data.

Year 2: Reach Higher Renewal Grant

Grant funding supports the continuation of the efforts in Year 1 and represent an ongoing commitment to this work.

[No Year 3 Grants were awarded in this cycle.]

Year 4: Reach Higher System Impact Renewal Grant

Grant funding supports the continuation of all postsecondary efforts. These high schools continue to systematize, scale or sustain their bold systems change initiative project(s) from previous years.

High schools were selected based on a competitive grant review process. Schools receiving the Reach Higher grants address five essential elements of a high school strategy aimed at increasing college enrollment, including:

1. Postsecondary Advisory Council
Reach Higher High Schools will bring together a team of stakeholders to set the school’s vision and college access strategy. The PAC will meet regularly to strategically develop and implement the school’s college access programming, collect and analyze data, and develop and implement data-driven collaborative action plans.

2. Linked College Access Events
Reach Higher High Schools will host a linked triad of college access events – Michigan College Month, College Cash Campaign and College Decision Day – prioritizing the development of a coordinated, strategic effort to execute targeted interventions throughout an entire year.

3. College-going Culture Assessment
Reach Higher High Schools will conduct the Postsecondary Success Asset Mapping (PSAM) survey to assess the building’s college-going culture in five asset areas: transition knowledge and skills, content knowledge, learning skills and techniques, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and school-based systems.

4. School Counseling Self-assessment
Reach Higher High Schools will assess the current effectiveness of its college and career readiness counseling, support and programming from two perspectives: staffing and capacity, and college-going culture and programs.

5. Student Outcome Data Analysis
Reach Higher High schools will utilize publicly available data sources to collect, disaggregate and analyze data on key college and career readiness student outcome metrics. Findings will be used to develop collaborative action plans.


As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s official 2019 attainment rate to 45%. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. For more information, visit [].

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