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60x30TX goal: By 2030, at least 60 percent of Texans ages 24-34 will have a certificate or degree.

Texas Reach Higher Initiative

Texas began its involvement in the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative to Strengthen School Counseling and College Aspirations in 2015. After attending a National Convening at the University of North Florida, a small group from Texas was tasked with coming back to the state and help lead a statewide effort to improve the college going and completion rates for Texas students. The Reach Higher initiative is the First Lady’s effort 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, or a four-year college or university. In today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why the First Lady is working to rally the country around the President’s “North Star” goal — that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. The goals for Reach Higher are:

        • Provide state teams with the opportunity to strategize with states across the nation.
        • Review best practice models and receive technical assistance to advance REACH HIGHER goals.

Texas Reach Higher Challenge

The Texas Educational Service Center (ESC) Challenge is a new initiative designed to provide an opportunity to share best practices and resources for counselors, ultimately elevating Texas counselors to be the best in the nation which also supports the White House Reach Higher initiative. The Texas ESC Challenge will also include a competition that could potentially include funding for your ESC region.

60x30TX ESC Regional Challenge Information:

                • Each Regional Service Center will work closely with local counselors and stakeholders to improve college completions rates. This will be done through an increase in college applications and FAFSA completions.
                • Each region will designate a person to be the lead contact for the challenge.
                • Each year, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will determine a winner and provide the funding to support future college readiness efforts.

Through school counselor leadership and collaborative partnerships, we hope to dramatically increase the number of traditionally underserved students prepared for, entering, and succeeding in postsecondary education by focusing on ways to strengthen, align, and expand the college-going pipeline locally, and concomitantly, at the state and national levels.

Timeline for Texas Reach Higher Challenge Activities

Time Activity
Summer 2016 Build partnerships with local and regional groups
Begin work on creating an action plan for your region (template will be provided)
Begin work on creating an action plan for your region (template will be provided)
Begin collecting the information to complete the regional asset map survey for each partner (survey link will be provided) Due on July 31st
Participate in a webinar to discuss timeline and benchmarks for the Challenge
August – October 2016 Host a local/regional kickoff event
September – December 2016 Participate in GenTX College Application and FAFSA Campaign in November
  Increase use of Apply TX Counselor Suite
April – May 2017 Participate in GenTX Decision Day Activities
September 2017 Complete ESC Challenge Report

Texas Reach Higher Team

The Texas Reach Higher team is a collaboration of the following partners with the underlying goal is to support the 60x30TX goal: By 2030, at least 60 percent of Texans ages 24-34 will have a certificate or degree.

Texas College Access Network (TxCAN)/Educate Texas

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Texas OnCourse

Texas Workforce Commission

Texas Education Agency

Achieve Texas – Texas Tech University

Texas Association of Community College

Career & Technology Association of Texas

University of Houston

Austin Chamber of Commerce

Houston ISD

Fort Worth ISD

Dallas ISD

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

San Diego State University White House Convening Report: Hatch, T., & Owen, L. (2015). Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising: San Diego State University White House Post Convening Report. San Diego, CA.

Harvard White House Convening Report: Savitz-Romer, M. & Liu, P. (2014). Counseling and college completion: The road ahead. A summary report from the strengthening school counseling and college advising convening. Cambridge, MA.

Forum Guide on Student Metrics: National Forum on Education Statistics. (2015). Forum Guide to College and Career Ready Data. (NFES 2015-157). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.


For more information regarding the Texas 60x30TX ESC Challenge contact:

June Giddings, Director for Texas OnCourse, The University of Texas at Austin,

Denise Davis, Deputy Director, Programs, Educate Texas,

Jerel Booker, Assistant Commissioner for College Readiness and Success, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board,