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Bonner Scholars Program

In 1991, the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in Princeton, NJ, recognized Concord University’s commitment to community outreach and endowed the university with funds to support the Bonner Scholarship Program. The program provides up to 80 students each year with financial scholarships to support academic endeavors at the university. The students then provide support to their communities through service work, in addition to participating in leadership and personal development activities. It is the goal of the program to develop experienced, knowledgeable, and committed individuals who recognize the needs of our society and each person’s responsibility to serve throughout their lifetime.

The Bonner scholars program was created with the belief that college students engaged in service have unique gifts and talents that bring energy, creativity, and hope to individuals and communities. It is also based on the belief that colleges and universities can and must be a “telling presence” in their local communities. By launching and supporting the Bonner scholars program, the Bonner Foundation has entered into a partnership with participating institutions that have made a commitment to envision new possibilities for campus-community partnerships.
Once a student is accepted into the Bonner program, they commit to a series of expectations including the following:

  • Arriving on campus before the regular freshmen orientation to participate in an orientations program designed specifically for new Bonner scholars;
  • Serving an average of ten hours a week at a community service site during the school year;
  • Engaging in a comprehensive placement process for required service work, including establishing service and learning goals and defining methods for achieving these goals;
  • Attending regular group reflection, enrichment, and training activities through which the student will be challenged and supported to develop their skills, knowledge, and abilities;
  • Considering ways to integrate their academic studies with their community service activities; and
  • Completing at least two full-time summer service internships.

Common Commitments

What is at the heart of the Bonner program? The goals of the Bonner program transcend the number of hours served and the amount of financial assistance received. The Bonner program is committed to engaging and supporting individuals to be involved in thoughtful, meaningful, and transformative service activities that benefit all involved. How do we articulate what it means to serve thoughtfully and effectively?
The Bonner Foundation has engaged in an intensive process of information gathering from students, faculty, administrators, and community members from within and outside the Bonner community. Through this work, six common commitments have been identified that embody the work of those involved in the Bonner program. These issues are important and active in the daily life of the Bonner community. These commitments are meant to guide and support the direct service and reflection work that we engage in as members of that community.

  • Social Justice: Advocate for fairness, impartiality and equality while addressing systemic social and environmental issues.
  • Civic Engagement: Participate intentionally as a citizen in the democratic process, actively engaging in public policy and direct service.
  • Community-Building: Establish and sustain a vibrant community of place, personal relationships and common interests.
  • Spiritual Exploration: Explore personal beliefs while respecting the spiritual practices of others.
  • International Perspective: Develop international understanding that enables individuals to participate successfully and sensitively in a global society.
  • Diversity: Respect and engage the many different dimensions of diversity in our public lives.

The terms we have used to identify these common commitments are meant to convey a concept and an ideal without providing a final definition to a word. We will move together individually and as a community to explore, develop and engage the notion of common commitments throughout the Bonner program.

School Year Funding

Each Bonner scholar receives $1500 per semester, a total of $3,000 during the academic year, and an overall total of $12,000 over the course of four years. These funds are paid by check directly to the student according to the following schedule:

Amount of Payment Date of Payment Requirements for Payment
$500 Beginning of each semester Student must submit an approved service agreement to receive funds.
$500 Mid-semester Student must be up to date with all Bonner requirements, have all appropriate paperwork submitted, and must attend a scheduled appointment with the Bonner Director or Coordinator.
$500 End of the semester Student must have submitted all documentation and requirements for the semester.

[There may be deductions if all service requirements or Bonner expectations have not been completed.]

Summer Funding

Bonner Scholars are expected to complete two summer service internships of at least 280 hours each.

There are funds available to help students pay for any direct expenses related to their summer service (food, lodging, travel, etc.) and there is also an earnings stipend that is paid at the end of the summer upon completion of all requirements. The total amount of funds available for each of the two summers of service is $4,500. (This is the maximum amount for any combination of living expense funds and earnings stipends.)

There are also some additional funding sources established by the Bonner Foundation that may be available to the student upon application. These funds may be used for graduate school testing, application fees, campus visits, etc.,

To apply for the Bonner scholarship, candidates must:

  • Complete the online application form,
  • Submit an essay discussing the impacts of their community service (part of the online application)
  • submit a list of their community service/volunteer activities (also part of the online application), and
  • Provide three (3) recommendation letters. (Individuals submitting reference materials must use the Bonner Scholars Program Reference Form to upload documents. Please refer those individuals to this page to access the form or share with them the following direct link: https://apps.concord.edu/forms/view.php?id=167642.)

Applications will not be moved forward for review until all required components have been received.

For Incoming Freshman Students:

Incoming freshman students must apply for the Bonner scholarship in the fall prior to entering their freshman year. Applications, as well as all supporting documents and references, must be received by November 1 for consideration in our first round of scholarship awards. Applications received after November 1 will be reviewed and awards made until all available scholarships have been disbursed. To be eligible for admission to the Bonner Scholars Program, applicants must also:

  • Have been approved for admission to the University. (Includes submission of high school transcripts and any required test scores such as ACT, SAT and TOEFL.)  AND
  • Have a FAFSA report on file with the CU Financial Aid Office. (International students do not have to complete the FAFSA form.)

Applicants are encouraged to complete this process as early as possible. Any applicant whose file is incomplete will be ineligible to receive the Bonner scholarship.

For Current CU Students:

Current students are eligible to apply for the Bonner scholarship if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have an interest in community service,
  • Have 10 hours a week to devote to service and scholarship activities,
  • Have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA,
  • Have at least two years remaining before completion of degree requirements, and
  • Submit an online Bonner scholarship application and provide all supporting materials (personal essay, list of service activities, and three references).

There is no application deadline for current students. We will accept applications at any time. However, awards are only made at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters as we have openings in our program. Applications will remain on file in the Bonner Office until the student’s eligibility has expired.

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