With ambitions to ignite regional growth in postsecondary educational attainment, Questa Education Foundation is proudly serving more students than ever before. Funding from Questa helps local students afford college expenses and encourages graduates to return to our region to start their careers. The number of Questa Scholars funded this academic year increased from 450 to over 600 thanks to increased financial support from community partners (including local philanthropic funders like the AWS Foundation and employer partners like Parkview Health).
Across the state, the number of high school graduates pursuing further education after high school is in a ten-year decline, creating a significant challenge for regional employers with increasing needs for a trained and educated workforce. College costs can create barriers for students considering further education and many students worry about taking on college debt. Questa funding is designed to alleviate that burden – helping more students access postsecondary education with loans that are 50-100% forgiven when graduates return to Northeast Indiana to live and work.
Increasing the number of scholars supported each year is one of several strategies Questa is pursuing to reverse the decline in college-going rates. With grant funding from the Don Wood Foundation, Questa also launched a Scholarship Search Tool to help students find additional scholarships and financial aid opportunities (available at questafoundation.org/scholarship-database). Last May, Questa partnered with the Don Wood Foundation and TPMA to launch Achieving Postsecondary Attainment, a two-year study and planning project with the goal of increasing educational attainment in the region.
“We know it will take regional collaboration and the aligned work of many organizations to help more students achieve postsecondary education and meet regional talent needs,” said Elizabeth Bushnell, Executive Director of Questa Education Foundation. “We are committed to achieving these goals through partnerships and data-informed strategies. Questa’s expansion to support more students is a significant step forward.”
Questa Traditional and Contemporary Scholar programs offer low-interest loans that are up to 75% forgiven when a scholar graduates and commits to living and working in Northeast Indiana for five years after graduation. Questa Career Scholars, funded by employer partners, are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness on their Questa loan when they complete their degree (licensure or certificate) and work for their sponsoring employer after graduation for a designated time.
Funding administered through Questa provides local students with the opportunity to graduate with less debt and makes an impact on the region’s talent pool. With an 85% graduation rate (compared to the national average of 60%) and 75% retention rate of graduates living and working in Northeast Indiana, Questa Scholar programs ensure that the residents and economy of Northeast Indiana thrive.
Current high school seniors and first-year college freshmen can apply to the Traditional Scholars Program for the 2024-2025 academic year starting December 1. The Contemporary Scholars Program is open year-round for returning students and adult learners. Career Scholar Program applications are open throughout the year and deadlines may vary. All students can apply through Questa’s website at www.questafoundation.org.
You can help support local scholars complete their degree with less debt by donating or partnering with Questa at questafoundation.org/donate.