Fall 2023 Connections
Our best estimate is that out of over 1000 HC families, only about 20% use TRIP as a way to put extra money into their tuition accounts. TRIP, an acronym for “Tuition Reduction Incentive Program,” is a fundraising program that uses gift cards, whether purchased online or via a paper order form through Holland Christian Schools to shop at major food, retail, and online stores. A variety of stores sell HC their gift cards at a discount, and then HC sells the cards at face value to participants, crediting their tuition account with the difference; sometimes that difference could be 3%, and sometimes it could be all the way up to 20%, like Biggby’s gift cards are, with everything in between.
”TRIP has changed so much, and has gotten a lot more user-friendly. TRIP is magic—it’s just magic!
The thing is, anyone in the community can participate, and not just current HC families: we’ve got grandparents, relatives, friends, and potential HC families, or couples with no children yet—all who use TRIP to make regular purchases, then send their TRIP earnings to the account of a presently enrolled family of their choice, save it for their own future family, or even donate it to Holland Christian’s Tuition Grant Fund. And if it’s been a few years since you attempted to use TRIP, you might want to give it another go—it’s gotten so much more convenient.
“TRIP has changed so much, and has gotten a lot more user-friendly,” said Kim Hekman ‘02, HC’s TRIP Coordinator. “It’s become so much more available instantly and on a phone that it takes a lot of planning out of it. And Raise Right is continuing to make the user experience much better. TRIP is magic—it’s just magic!”
The biggest complaint we hear from parents is that TRIP is too complicated to use. And to be honest, a few of us thought so at first too. But we’re here to show how easy it can be to use if you break it down into regular life activities. So we’re giving you four easy ways to use TRIP in your everyday life right here:
Kim Hekman recommends starting small, with one easily managed purchase, like maybe your trash pick up (if you don’t live in the City of Holland). The bonus is that you need to think about it only every third month or so, and it’s for a worthwhile amount: Arrowaste offers 12% towards your tuition, while Republic offers 11%.
After you receive your trash/recycling bill in the mail, purchase the TRIP certificates for that trash company through the Wednesday morning TRIP tables that are at Rose Park or the High School, or by using the blue weekly order form (also online at hollandchristian. org/admissions/financial-aid/trip/), then pay your full bill by mailing in the TRIP certificates instead of a personal check. If you—or a grandparent, for example— happen to pay a business’s trash through HC TRIP as well, you can really increase your monthly TRIP income.
The next easiest category is probably gas, since we all need gas, right? Whether you pump gas most frequently at Quality, BP, Speedway, Meijer, Mobil, or even Sam’s Club, you can earn TRIP money from each gas fill-up by purchasing gas gift cards at the TRIP table. If you want, you can reload some of the gas gift cards online right before you get gas, like with Walmart’s gift cards to pump gas at Sam’s Club.
Or, if you have teenage drivers, physical gas gift cards are an easy way to provide gas for your teens, and you can keep the denominations smaller if they’re likely to lose the cards. If you like to make road trips, Kim recommends looking ahead at the national chain gas stations likely to be on your route, and purchasing a variety of those national chain gas cards ahead of time.
A third easy category for using TRIP is food, since we all need to grocery shop, so why not do it while also saving a percentage off of your tuition?
How you use TRIP for groceries depends on where you like to grocery shop: There are physical Family Fare and Meijer gift cards available each week, some reloadable online, as well as Walmart and Amazon. If you’re a committed Aldi shopper, you can use the Instacart app, and have your groceries either delivered to your house, or gathered and waiting for you to pick up at Aldi. You can even purchase the annual Aldi Instacart fee through TRIP by using the Raise Right app, or use a prepaid Visa card that has no activation fee. In order to use TRIP through the very easy Raise Right app, you’ll need a school code from the TRIP coordinators that we are not allowed to publish online (too many robots out there!) Just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for this code, and they’ll get it to you ASAP, though it’s helpful if you can give it a day or two.
Your best next TRIP step is to get yourself to a Wednesday morning TRIP table at either Rose Park or HCHS, between 7:30-9am, and ask for help from either Kristi Lokker or Kim Hekman. Often the other moms (or dads or grandparents) who are also purchasing TRIP certificates will have great suggestions for how they use it as well. You can also visit our TRIP page at hollandchristian.org/trip or email email@example.com.