Common App to merge with college-access initiative Reach Higher

The Common Application, a nonprofit organization that runs an online platform used by millions of students to apply to U.S. colleges, announced that it will soon merge with Reach Higher, the college access initiative launched by former first lady Michelle Obama while she was in the White House. Leaders from both groups announced the merger at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference in Salt Lake City, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Reach Higher was an initiative borne from my own experience—the idea that an education opens up doors that are otherwise closed for kids like me. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help kids set their sights not just on getting into college, but on finishing it,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that thanks to the Common App’s commitment to those same values, that message will thrive for years to come.” Obama says she will continue to support the initiative.

By joining forces with the Common App, Reach Higher hopes to have a much larger scope of influence, given the millions of students and more than 800 institutions that use the organization’s platform. As of January 1, 2019, the Common App will take over Reach Higher’s programming, including Better Make Room, UpNext, College Signing Day, any grants, and efforts to support school counselors. Leaders plan to use resources like UpNext, a texting service that reminds students to complete key college application and financial aid milestones, on a larger scale via the Common App, according to Education Week.

“Together we can accelerate solutions to common problems,” Eric Waldo, Reach Higher’s executive director, told The Chronicle. “Reach Higher can bring expertise around young people, and promoting why college is worth it, and connect them to the Common App’s resources, which will unlock so much more potential for young people.”

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