Van Wert County Foundation Launches 2024 Learn & Return Program


The Van Wert County Foundation is excited to announce the opening of the application period for the fourth year of our “Learn & Return” Student Loan Payoff Program. From July 1st to September 1st, recent graduates can apply to receive up to $30,000 in student loan repayment assistance paid over three years. This program eases the burden of student loans while integrating graduates’ talents into the Van Wert community.

Since its inception in 2021, the Learn & Return program has relieved several hundred thousand dollars in student debt for 63 Van Wert residents, totaling over $1.5 million in potential impact for current participants. This initiative fosters personal and community growth by providing former residents an avenue to return home, helping current residents thrive without financial burdens, and offering new graduates an excellent opportunity to kick-start their careers in Van Wert.

Laney Nofer, Director of Philanthropy at the Van Wert County Foundation, explains, “Our goal is to empower graduates to return home, contribute their skills, and help us build a thriving, well-resourced community.”

Scott Turner, a current participant, shares, “I am so grateful for the Foundation’s investment in returning graduates. It is rewarding to be involved in the community and to help make Van Wert a great place to live.”

Madison Roediger adds, “The Learn & Return Program has left such a positive impact on my life. Not only has it been financially beneficial for my family, but it has also connected me to some amazing people in our community.”

Taylor Ray Orsbon notes, “The Learn & Return Scholarship Program has afforded me the financial support to take my experiences and desire to help others back home to the place that raised me—to help make our small community an inspiring place to live and work for the next generation.”

How to Apply

Graduates interested in applying can visit the Van Wert County Foundation’s application portal to apply for detailed information on the application process and eligibility criteria. Eligible candidates must:

  • Have outstanding student debt in their name associated with their degree or certificate.
  • Have graduated within the last 10 years with an accredited post-secondary degree or certificate.
  • Have been a resident of Van Wert County when graduating from high school or obtaining their GED.
  • Currently live in or plan to move to Van Wert County.
  • Commit to making Van Wert County their primary residence for at least three years.
  • Secure employment within Van Wert County.
  • Participate in the Learn & Return Mentorship Program.

The application period is open from July 1st to September 1st. We encourage all eligible graduates to apply and contribute to the community while achieving financial freedom.

For more information on the Van Wert County Foundation or the Learn & Return program, please call Laney Nofer at (419) 238-1743 or email her at