Bonner Scholars Program

The Bonner Scholars Program provides students who have demonstrated outstanding community service with the financial support needed to attend college and continue to be involved in the community. The Bonner Scholarship is available to students who commit to community service while they attend college. In addition to significant service, most students must demonstrate financial need as evidenced by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Interested in applying? Click here for application information.


Bonner group shot

The Bonner Scholars Program is based on the premise that young people care about others and, given the opportunity, will become active and involved in the local community. It is also based on the understanding that college students have a unique and important contribution to society. Therefore, in conjunction with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Oberlin College has established a program which encourages and supports students interested in community service during their college career. Through an application process, 15 incoming first-year students are selected for the scholarship each year.

The Bonner Scholars Program allows students to be actively involved in community service throughout the academic year and during the summer. Students receive a stipend during the academic year and summer.

Bonner Scholar Expectations

Bonner Scholars are selected from the incoming first-year class and are expected to stay involved and support the program throughout all four years of college. The expectations of each Bonner Scholar include:

  • Involvement in community service for at least 10 hours per week, totaling 280 hours for the academic year. Scholars will be allowed to choose from any number of service opportunities in the local community. Some of our current Bonner Scholars are volunteering with America Counts, America Reads, Boys and Girls Club, El Centro De Servicios Sociales, Family Planning Services, Kendal Retirement Community, and Oberlin Community Services.
  • Completion of seven weeks (280 hours) of community service during two summers. Scholars will work with the Bonner Scholars Program director at Oberlin College to locate appropriate placements.
  • Participation in enrichment activities and meetings planned by Oberlin College, the Bonner Scholars, and the Bonner Scholars Program director.
  • Arrival at Oberlin several days before first-year orientation to attend a special Bonner Scholars Program Orientation.
  • Submission of required documents necessary to administer the program.

Bonner Scholar Benefits

  • Bonner Scholars will receive a stipent of $2,500 for the academic year, which is delivered as $1,250 each semester:
    • $500 book stipend, paid at the beginning of each semester after an individual meeting with the Bonner Scholar Program Director
    • Three payments of $250 paid monthly over the course of each semester
      • Note: No $250 payment is paid over January/Winter Term
  • Scholars are also eligible for two summer living stipends of up to $1,000 at the beginning of the summer 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.
  • A $2,000 loan reduction check is issued after graduation to help reduce indebtedness incurred while attending Oberlin College.
  • Group service trips.
  • A Bonner support network.
  • The opportunity to apply for the AmeriCorps Bonner Leader Program, which provides educational awards of up to $2,362.50 for 900 hours of leadership in community service.

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

For more information on the Bonner Scholars Program at Oberlin, contact Trecia Pottinger, Program director, by phone (440) 775-5387, or e-mail