MCAN recognizes the great work of high schools across the state to move Michigan closer to Sixty by 30 — to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees or postsecondary certificates to 60 percent by the year 2030. In support of these efforts, MCAN will make strategic investments in high schools prioritizing innovative systems change work.

MCAN is excited to introduce the High School Innovation Grants program (formerly Reach Higher High School Grants), which will provide funding and support to high schools focused on changing systems that perpetuate inequity in postsecondary pathways. New for the 2021-22 school year, high schools are eligible to apply for the Aspire grant, the first stage of the three-year High School Innovations Grants series. This grant series is meant to equip schools with the tools necessary to complete subsequent cycles of the grant process independently, beyond the first three years of participation.

Throughout the High School Innovation Grants series, schools can expect to:

  • Build a strong, collaborative school or district-wide team focused on postsecondary education access and success
  • Focus on sustainable, systems-wide solutions to accelerate progress towards Sixty by 30
  • Continuously use data to identify and investigate areas of improvement
  • Facilitate continued progress towards Sixty by 30 beyond the grant period


ASPIRE

Multiple $5,000 grants are available within the first year of the High School Innovation Grants program. Applications will open on Wednesday, Sep. 1 and close on Sunday, Oct. 17th. Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, Oct. 22 with a grant start date of Nov. 15, 2021. The Aspire grant will run through Sept. 30, 2022. Participating schools can expect to:

  • Work with MCAN staff to coordinate a half-day site visit within the first 90 days of the grant
  • Build a strong principal/counselor team that will meet with MCAN staff quarterly
  • Build a Postsecondary Advisory Council (PAC) of relevant stakeholders that will meet once per month
    The team should include at minimum the principal, school counselor(s), college/career adviser(s), teachers, as well as (if appropriate) higher education representatives (admissions, financial aid, outreach), and community-based organizations.
  • Research a college access issue of choice from a list of provided recommendations
  • Present the results of their research to the group of grantees from across the state
  • Develop an action plan to be completed during year 2 of the high school innovation grant structure, the Activate grant

Apply for the Aspire grant →


ACTIVATE

Schools will be encouraged to apply for the Activate grant at the conclusion of their Aspire grant. Up to $10,000 will be available for eligible schools, depending on school size. The main goal of the Activate grant is to provide support to schools in executing the action plans they outlined at the conclusion of the Aspire grant. More information on this grant will be provided to eligible schools.

ALIGN

Schools will be encouraged to apply for the Align grant at the conclusion of their Activate grant. Up to $10,000 will be available for eligible schools, depending on school size. The main goal of the Align grant is to evaluate the work completed during the Aspire and Activate grants and to forge a plan for continued progress towards Sixty by 30. More information on this grant will be provided to eligible schools.


QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE GRANTS?

Contact Autumn Kearney, strategy manager.