When I was applying for college, financial aid was probably one of the things that stressed me out the most. All the new information I was receiving was overwhelming. I barely knew where to begin! Now that I’m in college, there’s a lot that I’d like to go back in time and tell myself. Here are the things that I wish I could explain to past me about financial aid at Hope College.


The most important thing to do is to fill out the FAFSA. It takes the income of your parents/guardians and calculates your government aid eligibility. Without it, you won’t be able to receive any government aid. Even if you think you wouldn’t get anything, fill it out anyways! You may be surprised, and doing it now will make it easier for you in the future. If you’re totally lost on how to do it, keep an eye out for what resources your high school provide. My school had a night dedicated to the FAFSA. Families could come to learn about the form and ask questions about it. Hope also provides resources for families filling out the FAFSA and is happy to answer your questions. The FAFSA needs to be filled out every year, so if there are any current college students reading this, get on it!


Once you complete the FAFSA, then it’s time to look at merit scholarships. Even though Hope is currently test-optional, I highly recommend submitting your test scores, as they may get you better scholarships than if just your GPA is being considered. One thing that I love about Hope’s merit scholarships is that they accept the superscore of your SAT or ACT, meaning they look at the combination of your best sections instead of your best overall test score. Merit scholarships are automatically awarded to eligible accepted students, and notifications of your award usually come shortly after your acceptance.

Another good scholarship to look out for is the Distinguished Artist Award. This scholarship is around $3,000 a year and it goes to students who display skill in music, visual art, theatre, writing or dance. There is an application required, which you can request information about. It also requires a commitment to the art you receive a scholarship for. This scholarship is great for students who want to pursue one of these disciplines in college as a major, a minor or just for fun. 

Anchored Tuition

The Anchored Tuition Pledge provides confidence and financial peace of mind when a family budgets for their student’s time at Hope. This promises that a student will have the same full-time tuition rate each year during their four years at Hope. It also allows a student’s renewable scholarships to cover more, since a rising tuition rate would cause scholarships to retain less value over time. Anchored Tuition is just one part of Hope’s plan to make college more affordable and accessible.

Still Have Questions?

Totally understandable; financial aid is complicated! I highly recommend reaching out to your admissions advisor. Mine answered a lot of questions that I had, and if he didn’t know the answer, he could find someone that would. There are also discussions on financial aid during Anchor Days, so be sure to check one of those out. Best of luck!

Published by Mackenzie Niswonger

Class of 2026 Hometown: Gladstone, MI Majors: Computer Science and Philosophy

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