Bonner Center

Bonner Scholars

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. This program supports students who are committed to community service through scholarship funding to help finance their college education and through a developmentally staged mentorship program that helps them develop as leaders and change agents in the local community and beyond. Scholars are expected to commit to about 10 hours of service per week with a program-approved 501 C3 nonprofit, NGO, or public sector agency during the academic year, and must complete two, internship quality summers of service, each consisting of 280 hours. Through a competitive application process, 15 incoming first-year students are selected for the scholarship each year. Successful candidates will have a strong interest in community service and high financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

For more information about the program, contact Brittnei Sherrod, director of the Bonner Scholars Program or Terri Richardson-Sanders.

Bonner Scholar Expectations

  • Completion of 140 community service hours per semester (approximately 10 hours per week);

  • Active participation in enrichment, training, and reflection activities planned by Oberlin College, the Bonner Scholars, and program staff;

  • Completion of two summers of service, each consisting of 280 community service hours.

First Year
  • A few days before Oberlin College's orientation for new and transfer students, attend the Bonner Program orientation (meals and housing provided)
  • Enroll in and complete LEAD 105: Introduction to Bonner (course credit offered)
  • Attend the first-year trip during spring break
Sophomore Year
  • Attend the sophomore exchange (event changes year to year)
  • Attend the sophomore recommitment meeting
Senior Year
  • Prepare and present a senior presentation of learning reflecting on your Bonner and Oberlin experiences. 

Bonner Scholar Benefits

Bonner Scholars are eligible to receive up to $21,500 over four years and become part of a national civic engagement network.

  • A stipend of $3,000 for the academic year ($1,500 each semester)
  • Individualized mentorship and 1:1 meetings with staff advisors
  • Drop in student leader hours

  • $4,500 to support first summer of service
  • $4,500 to support second summer of service
  • A third stipend of $500 is also available for rising seniors to pursue an additional optional summer of service

  • Domestic and international group service trip opportunities
  • Access to the national Bonner Foundation support network
  • Opportunity to apply for the Bonner Community Fund (up to $500 annually)