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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I be a Bonner Scholar?

Aside from getting to know and work with an amazing group of students, being paid to serve and engage within the Richmond community, and priority class registration, the Bonner Scholars Program (BSP) builds leaders. The skills Bonner Scholars cultivate and experiences they have at their internship sites allow them to learn, develop, and grow.

The Bonner Scholars Program connects students with ongoing opportunities on-campus and in the community that they would be unable to find elsewhere with any one organization. BSP staff act also as a support network for Bonner Scholars while they are at school, providing encouragement and guidance as students navigate their years at the University.

How do I balance 10 hours of community engagement per week with academics?

Academics come first. Time management is a crucial part of college and the Bonner Scholars Program helps you develop that competency. Bonner Scholars are also some of the most diversely engaged students on campus. Classes, homework, exercise, meetings, social activities, and managing 10 hours of Bonner obligations each week becomes part of your daily routine.

If I can't complete 10 hours a week, will I be asked to leave the program?

Bonner Scholars are required to record 120-130 hours a semester, which breaks down to 10 hours of engagement a week during 12-13 weeks each semester. 

Since partner organizations rely on Bonner Scholars for work, and since students are paid for their service, BSP staff expect students to meet their requirements.

We are also aware that unplanned situations occasionally arise that may prevent students from completing all of their hours. Students experiencing extenuating circumstances would meet and talk with a BSP staff member to address their unique situations.

Will I still have time to participate in other on-campus activities?

Bonner Scholars are involved in all kinds of extracurriculars, from athletic teams, to academic clubs and organizations, to other service organizations and Greek life, and are overall campus leaders. Scholars regularly attend lectures, participate in social activities, and play club and team sports. Bonner Scholars have a unique opportunity to learn about and participate in a number of great on-campus programs that occasionally count towards the training and education component of the BSP hours requirement.

Is it possible to have a summer job and do summer service?

Summer service is required for two of the three summers and should be completed at an approved nonprofit organization or government agency. These summer internships must be 280 hours worked over the course of at least seven weeks.

Bonner Scholars doing summer service receive $5,000 in compensation, spread out over two summers (with an additional $500 available to students completing a third summer service experience). Students are permitted to work for organizations in the summer that provide compensation in addition to the summer stipends they will receive from BSP, so long as they inform the organization that they are already being paid.

Will I be able to get another job on top of my BSP service?

Some Bonner Scholars qualify for Federal Work-Study (FWS) and can earn their FWS award by completing their BSP service hours, through the Community Work-Study program. With that said, Bonner Scholars are able to get another job if necessary, but it is not encouraged by the BSP staff, so that students can devote sufficient time to the Program, academics, and other activities.

Can I quit if I don't like it?

We expect students will honor their commitment to the Bonner Scholars Program. Some Bonner Scholars go on leave for a semester if they have extenuating circumstances and remain in good standing with BSP. 

Will potential employers recognize the program when I'm applying for jobs after school?

The Bonner Scholars Program is a national program that has existed since 1993. Alumni work in all sectors around the globe and BSP has good name recognition. 

Is the program for need-based or merit-only applicants?

The Bonner Scholars Program admits applicants based on both need and merit. However, all Bonner Scholars Program applicants must complete the applications for need-based financial aid in order to be considered.