Bonner Scholars gathered during a meeting


Sheldon House

Recruitment of Bonner Scholars is integrated into the year-round admissions process so that applications to the program are solicited along with the regular application to the college.

Selection Criteria:  

Academic requirements:
Meet the academic admission requirements of the participating institution.  Graduate in the top 20% of his of her high school class.   Exceptions may be made on an individual basis, including exceptions for student who has earned a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED).  Demonstrate a commitment to making connections between their service activities and their academic life.

Community Service requirements:
Demonstrate that he or she has held role(s) with significant responsibility at home, in church, at school, or in their community.

Financial Requirements:
No less than 85% of the incoming students may have parental contributions below $7,500 and the average parental contribution of this group must be at or below $4,500.  No more than 15% of the incoming students may have parental contributions above $7,500 (e.g. three out of a class size of 20).

Changes in parental contribution after the freshman year will not disqualify a Bonner Scholar. However, every effort should be made when selecting incoming Bonner Scholars to assure that the program helps those students with the greatest financial need.

Achieve the gender balance that exists at the school as a whole and increase the racial or ethnic diversity of the incoming class as compared to the school as a whole, with the goal to at least double the minority representation in the Bonner Scholars Program compared to the school as a whole.

Approval of New Students
Each incoming class of Bonner Scholars must be approved by the Foundation to assure that the financial and diversity selection criteria are met. The merits of individual candidates are not considered in the Foundation’s review.  The size of the incoming class will consist of exactly one-quarter of the total Bonner Scholars allowed at the institution (i.e., a school with 80 total Bonner Scholars may select an incoming class of 20).

First and second year Bonner Scholars who withdraw from the program for any reason may be replaced. The following restrictions apply:

  1. Bonner Scholars may be replaced before the start of their third year;

  2. All Bonner Scholar replacements must have parental contribution below $4,500;

  3. Bonner Scholar replacements must be in the same class as the student they are replacing.

  4. Each college must establish a selection process for replacement students, which is approved by the Bonner Foundation.

  5. Students cannot enter the program as replacements mid-semester or mid-summer.

  6. Replacement Bonner Scholars are only eligible to receive Bonner Scholarship support for the remaining term of the student they are replacing or until their original class year graduates, whichever comes sooner.

  7. The Loan Reduction fund will be pro-rated for replacement Bonner Scholars.

Transfer Bonner Scholars
A Bonner Scholar in good standing who transfers to another Bonner college is eligible to transfer their scholarship to that school, but is not guaranteed a spot. Therefore, transfer Bonner Scholars join the pool as all other replacement Bonner Scholar candidates and go through the same application procedure.

Community Service Requirement  

School Year Service
Bonner Scholars are required to perform ten (10) hours of community service a week during the academic year (300 hours total) of their choice to fulfill their school year service requirement. A students’ service must total no less than 280 hours to fulfill the school year requirement.

For the purpose of the Wofford Bonner Scholars Program, “community service” is “the enrichment of humanity through our positive actions which impact the community beyond the walls of the college. Service involves responsibility, commitment, and unselfish devotion of time to public and private social service agencies and staff and/or individuals in need. Service includes but is not limited to working with children, elderly, disabled, and the generally disadvantaged.” This service may be provided directly or indirectly through student-initiated project or a project sponsored by a non-profit or government agency.

The following activities will not count towards meeting a Bonner Scholar’s service requirement either during the school year or in the summer:  

  1. service on behalf of a private, for profit company or organization;

  2. service on behalf of a political organization or campaign (voter registration drives are allowed);

  3. pure, scientific research in a laboratory;

  4. ROTC or any other military service.

  5. No less than half of a Bonner Scholar’s service hours must be spent in “direct” community service activities such as tutoring, visiting the elderly, environmental clean up, building a home, or renovating a playground.

  6. No more than half of a Bonner Scholar’s service hours may be spent in “indirect” community service activities such as administrative tasks related to the Bonner Scholars Program or active research on behalf of a community group.

  7. Bonner Scholars may receive payment for their service work during the summer, but not during the school year. Bonner Scholars are not permitted to “bank” hours during certain terms of service (one month or more), and then apply the “banked” hours to meet the service expectation in future terms.

  8. First year Bonner Scholars may apply their Freshman Service Trip hours toward their school year hour requirement.

Summer Service
Bonner Scholars are expected to perform 280 hours of community service each summer over at least seven weeks in placement site of their choice.  Summer service “contracts” should be signed by each student, service site, and coordinator prior to the beginning of the summer service activity.

Each Bonner should receive initial and on-going training to prepare and strengthen their skills for their service work. The training should be appropriate to each stage of the students personal development and service responsibilities.

Each coordinator should have in place a year-long program for identifying, placing, and supporting students in meaningful school year and summer community service opportunities.

Bonner Scholars should be placed in their service sites within the first four to five weeks of the beginning of their first year in the program. The weekly service hours they miss during that time should be filled with further orientation, training, and group building activities.

Regular Meetings
Regular meetings should be organized for (and by) Bonner Scholars for education, training, and enrichment purposes.  Coordinators are encouraged to meet one-on-one with Bonner Scholars at least once each semester and more often for those students who are having academic or personal difficulties.

All Bonner Scholars should participate in some form of reflection process related to their service experience. Reflection may take many forms, including journaling, weekly small group meetings, or some form of artistic expression.

Bonner Scholars and community agencies should complete evaluations at the end of each semester and summer to measure the quality and impact of the service experience.

The Bonner Scholars Program makes every effort to ensure that the retention rate of the program exceeds the retention rate of the general student body.

Campus-Wide Service Program
Efforts should be made whenever possible to use the Bonner Scholars Program to inspire and develop campus-wide involvement in service activities.  The operation of the Bonner Scholars Program should be closely linked to the campus-wide community service and service-learning efforts.

A reflection component should be built into the regular enrichment program for Bonner Scholars.  The Foundation encourages links between the Bonner Scholars Program and the academic curriculum.

Community Fund
$100 per Bonner Scholar should be pooled into a Community Fund to support community service projects that involve or are initiated by Bonner Scholars.  Bonner Scholars should decide on the process for allocation the Bonner Scholars Community Funds, with final approval of the Director.

If necessary, the Community Fund should be held in an account separate from other Bonner Scholarship funds. Accurate records should be maintained, as well as appropriate security measures to ensure that these funds are used appropriately.

The Community Fund is designed primarily to enable Bonner Scholars or other students on your campus to start new or expand existing service projects that will benefit the communities in which the institutions are located. No more than 25% of the Community Fund should be used for training-related expenses, including travel.

Term of Scholarship
Four-Year Scholarship: The Bonner Scholarship is a four year scholarship that provides financial support to students for a total of eight semesters and three summers. Fifth and sixth-year “seniors” will not be eligible for continued Bonner Scholars support.

Note: The preceding policies/procedures information is taken from the Bonner Scholars Program handbook as published by the Bonner Foundation.