Education is a precious gift. It transforms lives, creates opportunity and invests in potential. For students like Erica, a Learning Potential Fund scholarship was critical in transforming her life.
“Growing up, our family struggled financially,” shares Erica. “My dad’s business was going downhill and, at the same time, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember our family discussing the option of bankruptcy—things were really tough.”
Crisis point came during Erica’s final school year, when an innocent head cold spiralled into a rare and dangerous condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Instead of fighting the cold, Erica’s immune system began attacking her nervous system.
Months of treatment followed, including speech therapy as Erica essentially learned to speak again. Incredibly, Erica was also working double time to stay on top of her schoolwork and prepare for her Queensland Certificate of Education.
“I missed a lot of school, but my teachers got me through – I was so inspired by them, and I knew I wanted to inspire others, so I applied to study teaching.”
Erica was accepted into QUT but, financially, it was impossible for her to move to Brisbane. She describes her Learning Potential Fund scholarship as her ticket to university.
Starting university is expensive, especially for rural students. Scholarship donors may not realise just how important their support is; what it means for students like me. Their support could put food on a student’s plate. But it’s more than that. It’s knowing that someone cares and believes in me.”
After graduation, Erica moved back to her hometown of Murgon as a fully qualified and passionate high school teacher.
“As a teacher, I have the chance to make a real difference in students’ lives. Around a third of my students are Indigenous, and equal access to education is important to me. I want to help young people achieve their dreams, regardless of their circumstances, just like how the Learning Potential Fund helped me achieve mine.”
QUT Learning Potential Fund
There are many students like Erica who would not be able to come to university if it wasn’t for a Learning Potential Fund scholarship.
The Learning Potential Fund provides critical finances through scholarships and bursaries to students at a time when, in many cases, their educational aspirations hang in the balance.
As the largest perpetual endowment fund of its scale in Australia, it has the potential to create equal opportunity for promising but financially disadvantaged students forever.
If you can, please consider donating to the Learning Potential Fund today and QUT will match your donation dollar-for-dollar.
Scholarship recipient Erica back in her home town of Murgon