Hope College works to create tuition-free business model

Hope College Students Day of Service
Posted at 1:05 PM, Jul 14, 2021

HOLLAND, Mich. — Hope College wants to create a new financial model to fund students' education.

President Matthew Scogin shared his vision for full-funded tuition at his inauguration on Sept. 13, 2019, and since then the college has raised more than $31.1 million toward its implementation, according to a news release Wednesday.

“We’re excited to be pursuing a new model for funding higher education,” Scogin said. “Rather than require students to pay for their education in advance, through what is too often a transactional relationship, we are working toward a funding model based on the biblical principles of generosity and gratitude. Once it’s implemented, students will receive a transformational education for which others have paid. Then, when they are graduates, we will ask them – out of gratitude for what they’ve received – to be generous in response by investing in future generations of students.”

The goal is to make a Hope education available to all students, not just those who come from a wealthier background, as well as to pursue a more sustainable business model of higher education.

College leaders also want graduates to be able to enter their careers and communities without the burden of student loan debt.

The college-wide strategy, called “Hope Forward,” was unanimously approved by Hope’s Board of Trustees in January 2021.

Reflecting the strategy’s three pillars of accessibility, generosity and community, Hope’s new tuition model will use a unique “pay-it-forward" approach.

The college will launch a pilot of the tuition model this fall, when it welcomes an incoming Hope Forward cohort of 22 students.

Tuition for these students will be fully funded by an anonymous donor, though they will still have to pay for room and board.

In the future, Hope aims to expand the number of Hope Forward students. At full implementation, all students will have their tuition full funded.

To be able to do this, Hope will need to increase its endowment by more than $1 billion.

All college fundraising – including capital campaigns – will support the Hope Forward strategy.