|F.A.Q. | The Bonner Program|
|Frequently Asked Questions|
When students are admitted into the Bonner program, they are admitted either as Leaders or Scholars, determined by the Advisory Board. Several factors contribute to this decision, including service accomplishments, academic potential, and financial need. There are few differences, programmatically, between the two groups, and once on campus, all students are referred to as Bonners.
Students choose their service site. The Bonner Director and upperclass Bonners will assist with providing some options and connections, but it is up to the student to choose which site to devote time.
Should a student qualify for Federal work-study (determined by the FAFSA form), their work-study hours will be the same as the hours served through the Bonner program. Effectively, their Bonner site will serve as their work-study site.
Service hours can be logged any day of the week.
Bonners are required to complete ten hours of a combination of service and training and enrichment each week. Normally, a student will spend at least eight hours each week at their primary service site, and up to two hours each week in training and enrichment activities. Training and enrichment includes weekly Bonner meetings, approved convocations, speakers, conferences, etc.
A Summer of Service is an opportunity for Bonners to participate in intense service experiences without worrying about lost income. A complete Summer of Service is 280 hours, averaging 40 hours per week for a seven-week commitment. Bonners are provided with either $2000 or $2500 for the summer, part living expense and part stipend.
The Bonner Director will work with each student individually to find his or her summer service site. Links are featured on the Bonner summer of service web page to help students locate appropriate sites. Determining the appropriateness of a service site is usually done on a case-by-case basis, but the basic criteria is that the student is performing some type of meaningful service for the organization as well as learning along the way.
The First Year Trip and Sophomore Exchange are in addition to the Summer of Service requirements. The First Year Trip leaves the day after commencement each summer and lasts about seven days. For the last two years students have traveled to Caretta, WV to help the community with home repair and basic construction. This summer we are trying to plan a trip to Biloxi, MS to continue with hurricane relief efforts there. The Sophomore Service Exchange is one weekend in either the spring or fall semester when Bonners from Centre travel to another college with a Bonner Program to partner with them in achieving their service goals in that community.
Currently over 30 students are involved in the Bonner Program, and a few of them are athletes. The practice schedule involved with being a collegiate athlete is demanding and makes it very difficult to be successful in both athletics and service. More often than not, practices are held between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m., and you will be in class most of the hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Therefore a student will have the hours after 7 p.m. to dedicate to service, socializing, and studies. Games and matches are also held on weekend days when students may otherwise commit a bulk of their service hours.
This is not to say that it is impossible to do both. Some students arrange their schedule in blocks so they have time free in the mornings to volunteer at various agencies, but it is always difficult to balance two significant commitments.
Generally, there are no costs to students while on service trips and exchanges outside of personal snacks that they may want to bring for themselves. Sometimes Bonners may be responsible for one or two meals during travel.
Centre College and the Bonner Foundation commit to meeting the full documented need of every Bonner Scholar, through a combination of loans, grants, and scholarships - the $2100 stipend is a part of that package. The $2100 is broken into a series of six checks disbursed directly to the student for their use. Some students use it to pay off loans, some to buy books, and probably some to go to McDonald's.
The undergraduate AmeriCorps program is provided through the Bonner Foundation and is available to all students participating in the program, regardless of financial need. However, the money received from AmeriCorps can only be used to pay off student loans, so if a student does not have any loans, it does not make sense for them to enroll in that program. A student can receive up to $4725 from completing two, 900-hour service commitments over a period of four years. AmeriCorps hours come from the service work completed during the school year as well as the summers.
AmeriCorps funds can be used to pay any federal loan. Bonner Foundation funds can repay any loan.