A new financial model to fund a Hope College education. That is the goal of a vision that Hope College recently launched, built on the long-range commitment to ensure access for every student who is admitted to Hope.
President Matthew Scogin shared his vision for fully funded tuition at his inauguration on September 13, 2019. Since then, the college has translated the vision into an innovative strategy and raised more than $31.1 million toward its implementation.
“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.”
“By eliminating the need for students to finance their education up front, we’re pursuing a number of goals as a college community,” he said. “First, tied to our Christian mission, we want to make a Hope education available to all students, not only those who come from wealthier backgrounds. Second, we believe the business model of higher education is broken and we want to pursue a more sustainable framework. Finally, we want to enable our graduates to enter their careers and communities with a focus on positively impacting the world unburdened by tuition debt. This vision will take many years to see to fruition, but the journey starts now and we are encouraged by early momentum.”
The college-wide strategy, called “Hope Forward,” which was unanimously approved by Hope’s Board of Trustees in January 2021, is built on a foundation of three pillars: accessibility, generosity and community.
Reflecting the three pillars, 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 the generosity of an anonymous donor.
Hope Forward students will invest after, not before, they receive a transformative Hope education — and in turn send the same opportunity forward to future students.
Participating students will receive a Hope College education with tuition fully funded by the generous gifts of others, and pay only for room and board. During their four years at Hope, students will explore gratitude, both as a beneficiary of others’ generosity and as generous givers themselves. When as alumni they give to Hope after graduation, they will become part of a continuum of generational support for the students of the future.
In the future, Hope aims to expand the number of Hope Forward students. At full implementation, 100 percent of students will have their tuition fully funded. This will be achieved by fully funding tuition for all students through endowed scholarships, and to do so, Hope will need to increase its endowment by more than $1 billion.
All college fundraising, including capital campaigns, will support the Hope Forward strategy. A primary driver of the fully funded tuition model will be a robust affinity-based giving program, which will allow donors to give to what they love and in turn help build budget-relieving endowments that will strengthen the college’s financial foundation, providing budget relief that reduces the need for tuition revenue.
More information about Hope Forward is available at hope.edu/forward.