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Hope College Launches Pilot Project for Fully Funded Tuition Fee Model


HOLLAND – Hope College President Matthew Scogin’s goal of fully funding student tuition will begin with a pilot program this fall.

Scogin first announced the goal when he was inaugurated on September 13, 2019, and said at the time that it would take about a decade to fully implement it.

This fall, 22 students will have their tuition fees fully funded by an anonymous donor to pilot the “Hope Forward” program. Students will pay only room and board throughout their undergraduate studies at Hope.

The model will use a “pay it forward” approach, with students having their tuition paid and giving back to the college after graduation.

Scogin told a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the students would pledge to “be generous to Hope every year for the rest of their lives after graduation.” The college does not set a minimum dollar amount or percentage of income that students must donate, but rather relies on their generosity.

Scogin said requiring specific amounts would be “another flavor of student loans” and that the college wants students to give freebies after graduation, without feeling like they’re paying bills.

Hope Forward is built on three pillars: accessibility, generosity and community. The program aims to make the college more accessible to students from different economic backgrounds.

“By eliminating the need for students to fund their education up front, we are pursuing a number of goals as a college community,” said Scogin. “First of all, linked to our Christian mission, we want to make an education in hope accessible to all students, not just those who come from richer backgrounds. Second, we believe that the business model of higher education is broken and we want to pursue a more sustainable framework. “

By fully funding tuition fees up front and allowing students to graduate without significant debt, Scogin said the hope is that more students will be able to continue to have an impact, rather than to earn a dollar.

“One thing we’re seeing is that students too often give up on their dreams after graduation because they’re so in debt,” Scogin said. “We want students to be debt-free so they can seek impact, not seek income to pay off their debts. “

Hope College President Matthew Scogin speaks at a graduation ceremony May 16 at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.

The goal of the program is to ultimately fund the tuition fees of all students through endowed scholarships, which would involve increasing the college’s endowment by more than $ 1 billion.

Expanding the program to the entire student body could take a decade or more, Scogin said. He added that the college is determined to achieve the goal, however long it takes to get there.

Since the launch of Scogin, $ 31.1 million has been raised for the initiative. The All Hope fundraiser will support the Hope Forward strategy, the college said. A “main driver” of the initiative will be a “strong affinity-based giving program”.

After:Scogin says he plans to fully fund Hope College’s tuition fees in 10 to 15 years

After:Hope College freezes tuition, accommodation and board for the year 2021-22

After:Scogin reflects on ‘eventful’ first year as president of Hope

Scogin called the initiative a “cultural shift” away from a tuition-based model and which the college hopes to spark a broader conversation about higher education.

“We aspire to start a conversation, hopefully a national conversation, about how higher education can and should be funded,” he said. “Higher education has never been more important, yet higher education has never been so expensive. We like to say that higher education is priceless, yet it is just too expensive.

Hope College is launching a pilot project of its "Hope ahead" initiative with 22 students this fall.

Scogin said that aspect will not change – the university will always be expensive – but it’s time to reconsider who pays this expense.

“One thing we don’t like about the current model is that we are basically asking students to pay an extraordinary amount of money up front, mostly during the poorest years of their lives before they get the benefits. benefits of a transformational Hope College. education, ”said Scogin. “We believe so deeply in the power of transformational education for hope that we prefer a model based on giving and generosity so that students give during their earning years, when they benefit from their education for hope. . “

– Contact reporter Mitchell Boatman at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @SentinelMitch.


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