Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

All Mason admitted Freshmen who are Federal Work-Study eligible and/or are able to share a compelling financial need are eligible to apply to be a Bonner Leader. In addition, we are looking for students who enjoy volunteering, are passionate about civic engagement, and want to develop their leadership and networking skills while in college.

Do I need to be eligible for work-study?

No. You do not need to be eligible for federal work-study to apply. The program recruits and supports a diverse pool of low-income, first-generation students who are committed to changing the world through service. However, we have very limited funds for students ineligible for work-study.

What are the requirements for the program?

Bonner Service Leaders commit to serving 300 hours per academic year (an average of 8-10 hours per week or 150 hours per semester).

Twenty percent may come from Training and Enrichment activities (T&Es). T&E opportunities include your weekly Bonner meetings, additional Bonner events/trips, and approved campus and/or community events.

What is the time commitment for this program?

Bonner Leaders are required to serve 300 hours per year which equates to 150 hours per semester, or 8-10 hours per week. It is equivalent to a student working a part-time job.

How much do I receive for my service work?

Bonner Leaders receive a $3000 stipend/year that will be paid bi-weekly and not in one lump sum. 

How will I be paid? Does the money go directly to tuition?

Bonner Leaders who are Federal Work-Study (FWS) eligible will be paid on a bi-weekly basis through GMU’s payroll system and will receive a direct deposit to their bank account. This will not go into student accounts but instead works like a paycheck. 

Can I work as many hours as I want?

Bonner students are only required to work 8-10 hours a week per semester. In order for students to meet program requirements of 150 hours per semester, Bonner students cannot work below or over the range of hours. Failure to meet the 150 service hour commitment by Jan. 1st for the Fall semester, or June 1st for the Spring semester may result in forfeiture of stipend and/or suspension from the program.

Do I have to commit to the full 4 years?

The Bonner Leadership program is a 4-year service-based scholarship that affords students an access to education and opportunity to serve. Students accepted into the program are orientated to have a clear understanding of the qualifications, expectations, and commitment of what it means to be a Bonner Service Leader. Bonner Leaders are required to commit to the full 4 years of the program. Bonner Leaders who do withdraw from the program for any reason forfeit their scholarship. 

Do I have to stay at the same community agency all 4 years?

Every Fall semester beginning Sophomore year, Bonner Leaders will submit a Community Learning Evaluation. In the evaluation, the student explains what they contributed to and benefited from the service site. In addition, students will express if they would like to continue with the community agency or explore another non-profit community partner for the following Spring and Fall semester. 

What happens if I decide to change my major?

The Bonner Program at Mason is designed in mind for students to bridge the experiences and knowledge they learn in the community with their academic studies. Bonner Service Leaders are not required to major in any specific program, so a change in major will not impact your eligibility or requirements as a Bonner. 

Can I participate if I am a transfer student? Or upperclassman?

Students must be accepted as a Bonner Leader the summer before their freshman year. Transfers and/or upperclassmen can only be considered if a Bonner Service student withdraws and if they meet the eligibility requirements listed above. All Bonner Leader replacements must be in the same class as the student they are replacing.