The admission process begins when a prospective student seeks a recommendation to the program from his warden, chaplain or prison school principal. These students are recruited from among the prisons approved by the Michigan Department of Corrections. Applicants must have at least seven years left on their sentences to be able to complete the program, must have a high school diploma or a GED, and must have a record of good behavior. Notices of applications for the new cohort are distributed during the beginning of each calendar year.

The full application includes a series of written essays designed to assess an applicant’s intellectual and attitudinal readiness for college-level learning and the transformation it generates. Successful applicants are transferred to the Muskegon Correctional Facility during the spring or early summer to begin classes in July.

Prisoners interested in the Hope-Western Prison Education Program should communicate with their facility’s school principal, chaplain, or warden.

Admissions Process

  • January–February: Interested men notify warden, chaplain or principal
  • February–March: MDOC-approved individuals apply
  • April–May: Accepted students notified of admission
  • May–June: New students transferred to MCF
  • July: Begin classes


All HWPEP students participate in a traditional liberal arts education offered in the context of the historic Christian faith. The program lasts at least four calendar years and requires 126 credit-hours.

Students at Muskegon Correctional Facility follow the same program of general education as traditional students on the Holland campus, including:

  • Mathematics and Natural Science
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences

HWPEP students major in Faith, Leadership, and Service, a course of study that combines religion, ministry, leadership and social sciences. The major is designed to engender personal transformation and equip graduates to be of service to others in whatever communities of which they will be a part — including the prison community.


HWPEP emphasizes whole-person development, including intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual formation. Formational activities are intertwined with classroom learning.

Co-curricular formational activities help students process their learning and consider how it shapes and equips them for service to others.