Program Description 

Created to provide underrepresented and first-generation students with “access to education and opportunity to serve,” the Bonner Scholars Program is a four-year community service scholarship program offered by Oberlin College in collaboration with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

The program supports students who are committed to community service by helping them develop as leaders and change agents in the local community and beyond.

Through an application process, 15 incoming first-year students are selected for the scholarship each year. Successful candidates will have a strong record of community service and high financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

For more information about the program, contact Brandi McVety , coordinator of the Bonner Scholars Program.

Bonner Scholar Expectations

  • Completion of 140 community service hours per semester (approximately 10 hours per week)
  • Participation in enrichment, training, and reflection activities planned by Oberlin College, the Bonner Scholars, and the Bonner Scholars Program director
  • Completion of two summers of service, each consisting of 280 community service hours

First Year
  • Attend Bonner orientation, which takes place a few days before Oberlin College's Orientation for new and transfer students (meals and housing provided)
  • Enroll in and complete LEAD 105: Introduction to Bonner (Oberlin College course credit offered)
  • Go on the First-Year Trip, which takes place during spring break
Sophomore Year
  • Attend the Sophomore Exchange (event changes year to year)
  • Attend the Sophomore Recommitment meeting
Junior Year
  • Participate in the Junior Class Project (project changes year to year)
Senior Year
  • Prepare and present a Senior Presentation of Learning to the rest of the Oberlin College Bonners

Bonner Scholar Benefits

Bonner Scholars may receive up to $17,500 over four years

  • A stipend of $3,000 for the academic year, which is delivered as $1,500 each semester

  • Two summer living stipends of up to $1,000 to support summer service and two summer earnings stipends of $1,500 upon completion of summer service
  • A third, optional summer stipend of $500 is also available for rising seniors

  • Group service trips
  • A Bonner support network
  • Opportunity to apply for the Bonner Community Fund (up to $500 annually)

The Oberlin College Office of Financial Aid determines eligibility for the Bonner Scholars Program. Students who are eligible to apply will receive an email invitation from program staff.