We believe in the transformational power of a Hope College education. We also believe that a student’s financial situation should never be a barrier to that experience.

Hope Forward is an innovative model for higher education where students fund their education through gifts after graduation rather than paying for college through tuition and debt up front.

This is our long-term vision to ensure access for every student who comes through our doors. It’s an entirely new funding model based on a covenantal relationship rooted in generosity and gratitude.

Hope’s Christian mission makes us uniquely positioned to revolutionize higher education through the message of generosity. One might summarize the Gospel by saying, “you are covered; now go and live differently.” Hope is saying, “your tuition is covered; now go and live generously.”

Jesus says, “freely you have received; now freely give.”
—Matthew 10:8

We imagine a reality where our entire funding model is based on those instructions

How it works

  • Your generosity removes tuition as a barrier to higher education. Tuition becomes fully funded by the generosity of our donors, eliminating the tuition barrier for Hope students. With Hope Forward, no student would be turned away from the opportunity to receive a transformational education because of their inability to pay. 

  • Hope Forward programming inspires a lifelong relationship between students, alumni and the college. In exchange for the gift of a tuition-free college education, students participate in a co-curricular learning community that explores what it means to live a life of positive impact rooted in gratitude and generosity.

  • Students graduate with a covenant to give rather than a transaction to pay. With gratitude, students sign a covenant to annually “pay it forward” upon their graduation. No set amount or percentage is required. Their charitable gift is entirely philanthropic and given from the heart. 

  • The playing field is leveled. Unlike higher education’s current scholarship model where students pay different amounts for the same education, one day soon Hope Forward will be extended to all students, putting everyone on the same footing. 

  • We are fundraising to kick-start the transition. The innovative pay-it-forward model where our alumni “crowd-fund” current students is sustainable; however, it requires raising a significant amount of resources at the beginning to enable the transition. We’ve done the math and Hope Forward works.  

  • We will expand the number of students who benefit from Hope Forward annually. Our long-term goal is to fund every student’s tuition through this innovative pay-it-forward model. In just two years, the community of Hope Forward students grew to 58 members: 22 in the inaugural Class of 2025 and 36 in the Class of 2026. 

    While the vision for Hope Forward is not yet fully realized for all students, the college has taken steps to lower the cost of a Hope College education with the Anchored Tuition Pledge. By “anchoring tuition,” the cost of a student’s tuition will never increase while they are at Hope.  

Help Us Move Hope Forward

Three Pillars


Being transformed by Hope should not come with a price tag

Nationwide, the cost of college tuition is getting higher every year, putting higher education out of reach for many students and families. 

At Hope, we want to see the financial barrier of paying — or borrowing for — tuition eliminated for every student.

“The opportunity to be transformed by Hope should not be dependent on a family’s net worth or what zip code a student grows up in.”

Removing barriers to attending college is also one way Hope is pursuing justice and our Christian mission.

Studies show that attending college is the great equalizer: Whether a student comes from a low-income background or a high-income background, graduates from the same college essentially have the same earnings potential.1 That means attending college is a key to solving income inequality.

A large portion of low-income students don’t attend colleges they are qualified for because of the “sticker shock” of the high tuition price. Even if they’re eligible for high financial aid, the high price tag deters them from even applying. By removing the high price tag, Hope will make a college education truly accessible.


1 Raj Chetty, Harvard University


Graduates give out of gratitude for the gift they have received

In emphasizing generosity and gratitude, Hope Forward aligns Hope’s business model with our values as a Christian college.

The God we serve says throughout the Bible that he blesses giving in a way that he doesn’t bless paying the bills.

Hope Forward is built around the center of the Gospel message, which says, “You are covered. Now, go and live differently.” 

During their four years at Hope, students will explore what it means to bring hope to the world through a lens of generosity and gratitude. Both as beneficiaries of others’ philanthropy and as generous givers themselves, students will be prepared to bring these values to the communities of their future.

When alumni give to Hope after graduation, they are “paying it forward” out of gratitude for the gift they have received and unlocking generational impact and transformation for the students coming after them.


Hope Forward will transform our relationship with students and alumni

The current financial model of higher education is based on a transactional relationship between colleges and their students. Today’s students are essentially customers who pay for a service.

Hope Forward will turn this model on its head.

Hope Forward will emphasize that students and alumni are part of a learning community that begins the moment they step on campus and last until long after graduation. Instead of a transactional relationship where students pay their bills and receive a degree in return, students enter a lifelong partnership with the college, actively connected to our learning community for the rest of their lives.

Given the rapidly changing demands of the workplace in the 21st century, Hope will continue to emphasize that alumni remain a part of that community. In today’s world of rapid change, lifelong learning has never been more important. With this model, students sign up to attend college, not just for four years but for a lifelong relationship.

“The whole world is asking why college has gotten so expensive. What if Hope could take the lead in solving that puzzle?”
—President Matthew A. Scogin