HOLLAND, Mich. — Hope College, in Holland, planned to launch a new tuition model to let students go to college for free.
Under the Hope College's tuition-free financial model plan, students will be asked to donate to the school after they graduate. The donation is not required, but the money would cover the costs for incoming students to go to school for free.
"It's so nice to see lots of other kids have the opportunity to come to Hope, not just the ones who can afford it. The fact that its actually happening is very exciting,” said Carrie Dummer, a Hope chemistry professor
The tuition for 22 students would be funded by an anonymous donor to test out the Hope Forward program.
Hope College President Matthew Scogin said the goal of the program is for all students at hope to have this opportunity.
Scogin said he had a vision for a tuition-free campus when he stepped into his role two years ago.
“People have asked me could this be a model that works at other places I think the answer is yes but somebody has to try it first,” he said.
Students would still have to pay for room and board. The college hoped the program would help cut down student debt.
"I’m going into my senior year and my family is in debt and we have to take out so many loans for it," said Emma Walilko, a Hope College senior.
The college would then ask students to give back after they graduate to help fund future students’ tuition.
"I still have a lot of debt. So just to give students that freedom to really focus on their education and graduate debt free, I think that’s a dream come true for so many students,” said Annie Arthurs, a recent hope college graduate.
There was no set amount that students have to donate back to the school.
"Just the whole idea of paying it forward is what Hope is all about. We like to instill in our students, go out and change the world,” said Dummer.
The college will be launching the Hope Forward pilot program in the 2021-2022 school year.
Scogin said it could take a decade to make tuition free for all students and the college would need to increase its endowment by more than $1 billion.