Learn and Return Loan Payment Program

The Van Wert County Foundation’s Learn and Return Student Loan Payment Program is an opportunity for current or previous Van Wert County residents demonstrating a desire to live and work in the county. In this competitive scholarship process, The Foundation will pay up to $30,000 of an applicant’s student loans over a three-year period, if the applicant lives and works in Van Wert County. Applicants must have student debt in their name, an accredited degree or certificate, and must demonstrate a desire or ability to live and work in Van Wert County.


  • Applicants must have received a post-secondary degree or certificate from an accredited college, university, or skilled trades program.
  • Debt to be repaid must be in the student’s name and accrued during the time the degree was obtained.
  • Applicants must have been a resident of Van Wert County when graduating from high school or receiving a GED.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a desire to move to, find/create employment in, and live in Van Wert County for at least three years.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate a previous residency of at least four years in Van Wert County and/or who can demonstrate their immediate family’s current residency in the county.
  • Selected applicants will have up to 120 days to demonstrate a written job commitment from a Van Wert employer, or demonstrate their own entrepreneurial ability and be successfully self-employed.


  • The scholarship process will be open year-round. Applicants can apply at any time.
  • To apply, potential candidates should visit vanwertcountyfoundation.org, create an account and submit an application.
  • The Van Wert County Foundation Scholarship Committee will review applications and will schedule interviews, hold meetings, and make recommendations as deemed appropriate.
  • Recipients of the scholarship will be paired with a community mentor
    • The mentor will not be an employer, co-worker, or family member.
    • A new mentor will be provided each year.
  • The mentor and the applicant will meet on a monthly basis, attend community events, and connect with local businesses, non-profits, and community organizations.
  • Recipients will be required to join or volunteer for a local service organization or non-profit as part of their agreement to receive scholarship funds.


  1. Applicants will be notified of an award decision via email.
  2. All awards will be payable upon completion of each full year, or as may be determined from time to time by The Foundation per loan policies.
  3. There is no minimum award. The maximum award is $30,000, dependent on the amount of student debt.
  4. The maximum award is payable in the following manner:
    • Up to $5,000 made payable to the originator of the loan at the end of the first year.
    • Up to $10,000 made payable to the originator of the loan at the end of the second year.
    • Up to $15,000 made payable to the originator of the loan at the end of the third year.
  5. If the loan repayment amount is less than$30,000, their payment will be split 17%the first year, 33% the second year, 50% the third year.
  6. There is no mandatory length of stay for the award applicant, however, if the applicant ceases to be employed or live in Van Wert County, any unpaid award is forfeited.
  7. The applicant must actively participate and engage in the scholarship’s Mentor Program.
  8. The applicant must sign a binding document agreeing to the terms and conditions of the award.
  9. All recipients are required to contact The Foundation within the first two weeks of January and July annually to confirm residency and employment in Van Wert County.