Reach Higher, started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House, works to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, a four-year college or university or the military.

In today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why we’re working to rally the country to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

In January 2019, Reach Higher joined Common App, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admissions process. 



Today, to achieve the “American Dream” more students must complete their education past high school. Not only do three-quarters of the jobs in the 21st century require education and training beyond a high school diploma, but the average worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn approximately $1 million more than a worker who only has a high school diploma over the course of a lifetime. A generation ago, the United States led the world in college completion. Today, we’re 13th, and falling behind in the race to educate our children to be competitive in today’s global economy. 

Our Theory

of Change:

Since 2014, Reach Higher has worked to build a college-going movement and inspire more first-generation and low-income students to continue their education past high school and obtain a postsecondary degree. We do this by:
  • Exposing students to college and career opportunities
  • Understanding financial aid eligibility that can make college affordability a reality
  • Using social media to reach young people where they are and build a college-going culture
  • Supporting high school counselors who can help more kids get into college

Visit our 2024 College Signing Day website

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Reach Higher is housed within The Common App, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization.