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BSP Rules - Recruitment and Selection

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Home Page / Bonner Program Resources / Bonner Scholar Program Rules / Recruitment and Selection



Bonner Scholar Program Rules


Recruitment & Selection     |     Program     |     Administration     |     Finances     |     Reporting

Section I: Recruitment & Selection



1.1 Recruitment

  • The recruitment of Bonner Scholars should be integrated into the year-round admissions process so that applications to the program are solicited along with the regular applications to the college and, thereby, used as a recruitment and yield tool.
  • To make it easier to coordinate the Bonner Scholar selection process with the college’s own selection process, schools that are not on a rolling admissions process may opt to use the following process to select their incoming class: 
    • Recruit new Bonner Scholars so that applications to the program are due on the same date as the college’s admissions deadline;
    • Coordinate your selection of incoming Bonner Scholars with your college’s selection of the freshman class to ensure that you are working from the pool of students who will be offered admission by the college;
    • Submit your selected pool for approval by the Foundation to ensure that it meets our guidelines, basing the total number of initial award letters on your school’s own yield history (e.g., if your school typically yields 50% of accepted students, then you would be allowed to admit twice as many Bonner Scholars as you have spots);
    • Send award letters to the approved selection list of Bonner Scholars on the same day (or within several days) of your school sending its admission letters, thus ensuring that prospective students are able to make their decision regarding which college to attend knowing their status with the Bonner Scholars Program.
  • Note: In the event that the yield of Bonner Scholars is higher than projected, your school would be allowed to keep those students with the understanding that: (a) the following year you will use a higher yield figure for the Bonner Scholars program, and (b) the students above the college’s Bonner class size would not be replaced until the class falls below its allotted size.
  • See summary description of Bonner Scholar Financial Aid benefits for use in recruiting materials and campus web pages describing the program to prospective students.


1.2 Selection Criteria

Each incoming Bonner Scholar must meet the following criteria:


1.2.1 Academic Requirements

  • Meet the academic admissions requirements of the participating institution.

  • Graduate in the top 40% of his or her high school class. Exceptions may be made on an individual basis, including exceptions for students who have earned a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED).

  • Demonstrate a commitment to making connections between their service activities and their academic life.


1.2.2 Community Service Requirements

  • Demonstrate that he or she has held a role(s) with significant responsibility at home, in church, at school, or in their community.


1.2.3 Financial Requirements  (revised Fall 2023 for updated FAFSA & Student Aid Index)

  • No less than 85% of the incoming class must have Student Aid Index (SAI) below $15,000 as determined by FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (e.g., 17 out of a class size of 20) and the average parental contribution of this group must be at or below $8,000.

  • No more than 15% of the incoming students may have Student Aid Index (SAI) above $15,000 (e.g., three out of a class size of 20).

  • Changes in Student Aid Index (SAI) after the freshman year will not disqualify a Bonner Scholar. However, every effort should be made when selecting incoming Bonner Scholars to ensure that the program helps those students with the greatest financial need.


1.2.4 Diversity

  • Achieve the gender balance that exists at the school as a whole (with no less than 40% of either male or female students).
  • Utilize the Bonner Program to assist the school in recruiting a diverse student body, valuing students' life experiences including those shaped by various demographic factors and social dynamics.


1.3 Approval of New Students

  • Prior to sending your acceptance letters, your school must send a list of each incoming class of Bonner Scholars to the Foundation for approval. The Foundation will ensure that the financial and diversity selection criteria for the class as a whole are met. The merits of individual candidates are not considered in the Foundation’s review.
  • The size of the incoming class will consist of exactly one-quarter of the total Bonner Scholars allowed at the institution (i.e., a school with 40 total Bonner Scholars may select an incoming class of 10).
  • The list of incoming Bonner Scholars sent to the Foundation for approval should contain the following information: name, graduation year, gender, race, estimated family contribution (EFC), first in family to attend college, home town and state.


1.4 Replacement Students

  • First- and second-year Bonner Scholars who withdraw from the program for any reason should be replaced. The following restrictions apply: 
    • Bonner Scholars must be replaced by the start of their third year;
    • All Bonner Scholar replacements must have parental contribution below $18,000 (revised Fall 2012);
    • Bonner Scholar replacements must be in the same class as the student they are replacing.
  • The process used for selecting replacement students must be approved by the Foundation.
  • A Change of Status Form for every replacement Bonner Scholar must be submitted and approved by the Foundation prior to the student being sent an acceptance letter by the program.
  • Students cannot replace Bonner Scholars mid-semester or mid-summer.
  • Replacement Bonner Scholars are only eligible to receive Bonner Scholarship support for the remaining term of the student they are replacing.
  • The loan reduction fund will be pro-rated for replacement Bonner Scholars (see Section 4.4.4).


1.5 Transfer Bonner Scholars

  • A Bonner Scholar in good standing who transfers to another Bonner college is eligible to transfer their scholarship to that school, but is not guaranteed a spot. Instead, transfer Bonner Scholars must join the pool of other replacement Bonner Scholar candidates and go through the same application and selection procedure.


1.6 Dismissal

  • The formal procedure for reviewing and dismissing Bonner Scholars who do not meet the expectations of the program must be reviewed and approved by the Foundation.
  • The dismissal policy and related procedures should be given to all students in writing at the beginning of the school year.
  • Directors who are considering dismissing a student from the program are encouraged (but not required) to consult with the Foundation before any dismissals are made.


1.7 Retention

  • Every effort should be made to ensure that the retention rate of Bonner Scholars exceeds that of the general student population.