Apply to the Program

The Bonner Scholars Program is an important part of Guilford’s Community Learning Program. Bonner Scholars are selected based on their high financial need and their demonstrated commitment to serve during their high school careers. Accepted students receive scholarship funds and extensive training in return for their commitment to the 4-year program.

Bonner Scholars Program

Service Work and Four Year Focus

The focus of the Bonner Scholars Program changes as students become more experienced during their four years of service. Each semester, Bonner Scholars complete 140 hours of service work, in addition to 280 hours of service work during each of two summers of service.

Bonner Scholar Qualifications

Applicants to the Bonner Scholars Program should be ranked in the top 40% of their high school class, have a strong record of previous experience in community service and demonstrate a high level of financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants wishing to estimate their financial eligibility before filling a FAFSA may go to and use the financial aid calculator there. If the calculated EFC is less than $10,000, then the student may meet the financial criteria for the Bonner Program.

First Year

First-year Bonners take a two-credit course entitled “Introduction to Community Learning” which links service and academics and considers issues in professional volunteer behavior. First-semester Bonners complete 100 hours of their Bonner work through the course and by committing to one of our ongoing sites. The remaining 40 hours may be filled through regular work with a community agency or involvement in campus-sponsored weekend projects and enrichment events. During their second semester, students fulfill 140 hours by continuing at their committed service sites and other areas of interest. They also participate in a weeklong service trip.

Sophomore Year

In their sophomore year, Bonners select a regular placement with a community agency or assist with a project run by an upperclass Bonner.

Junior and Senior Year

Junior and senior Bonners are asked to consider their Bonner work in terms of leadership development. Bonner Scholars may initiate their own community projects or serve in a leadership capacity with an ongoing site or other community agency.

Reflections and Meetings

Bonners are required to write monthly reflections about their service experiences. Reflections help the Bonner Center in finding appropriate ways to support students in their work, as well as helping Bonners to think deeply about their experiences and connect them to their academic work. Bonners are also asked to attend monthly meetings that focus on service and community issues, as well as the productive accomplishments of their peers. Monthly meetings are also designed to facilitate a greater feeling of camaraderie in service.

Typical Service Work

Students’ projects are initiated through their own diverse interests; a typical semester finds Guilford Bonners serving in more than 40 agencies and programs in the Greensboro community. The challenge, as well as the unique opportunity of the Bonner Center, is to help students make connections between community realities and their academic work.

Financial Assistance

School Year Support

$2,500 ($1,250 per semester) is allocated to each Bonner Scholar during the school year as a replacement for college work-study earnings, provided the student completes their service hour requirements. These funds support indirect costs such as books, transportation and personal expense or may be applied directly to the student’s tuition.

Summer Earning Stipend

$1,500 is provided to each Bonner entering their sophomore, junior or senior year as an earning stipend after fulfilling the previous summer’s 280-hour service requirement. The $1,500 is subtracted from the tuition bill for the following school year. Two summers of service are required.

Summer Living Stipend

The foundation provides $1,000 in the first and sophomore years and $500 in the junior year for summer living and travel expenses. This money can be spent each summer of service or pooled for one summer. It is allocated based on the calculated needs of each student’s estimated living expense budget.

Loan Reduction Award

At the time of graduation, each Bonner Scholar is eligible to draw $2,000 from the Loan Reduction Fund to be used for the sole purpose of reducing total loan indebtedness incurred while at Guilford.

AmeriCorps Opportunities

Students can complete their Bonner requirements while simultaneously serving a two-year part-time AmeriCorps term of 900 hours for an education award of $2775 to repay loans or pay graduate school tuition. Students may also complete 450 hours for $1,468 or 300 hours for $1,175. AmeriCorps is open to U.S. citizens or nationals, and service must be done in the United States.