Frequently Asked Questions

Program Questions

What is the Bonner Leaders Program?

Founded in 1990 by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, which is based in Princeton, New Jersey, the Bonner Program is one of the largest privately funded service programs in the nation. The Bonner Foundation annually supports service opportunities for over 2,400 undergraduate students at 80 colleges and universities who have a need for financial assistance as well as a commitment to service. The Bonner Leaders Program seeks to change the lives of the students, their communities, and the nation by providing access to education and opportunities to serve.

How many students are in the Bonner Program at Augsburg?

The number of students fluctuates as one class graduates and new Bonners are brought in every year, but the number tends to be about 40 students.

How are students chosen for the Bonner Program?

We promote and publicize the program every spring and summer. Applications for the program are reviewed yearly, usually in March and August, for acceptance in the fall semester. Most new students are incoming first-year students, although some rising sophomore students are invited to join in the spring of each year. Students are chosen based on financial need, history of volunteer service and community engagement, and potential for leadership growth in the program.

How are placements determined for students?

Students choose their own placements. Choices are often in part determined by their interests, experience, major, location and schedule of the organization, and advice of the Bonner coordinator. Community partners also interview students and express preferences around students placed at their organizations.

What type of job would I have if I were to become a Bonner Leader?

The Bonner Leader Program at Augsburg College has many different community partners who host students for a variety of service opportunities in their organization. All organizations that students work with are not-for-profit community organizations. Student jobs range from working in an after-school program assistant to organizing a neighborhood coalition to serving meals with the Campus Kitchen project, to working in the greenhouse of an environmentally focused school.

How do I know if I’d make a good Bonner Leader?

Students who are interested in social justice, the community they live in, who like working with people, and are interested in developing their own leadership skills make excellent Bonners!  Bonner Leaders are often outgoing, reliable, and resourceful students who want an added element of experiential learning to their college experience.

How many hours would I be committing to if I were to become a Bonner Leader?

Bonner students work an average of 9-12 hours a week in the community. On top of working, students are expected to attend regular Bonner meetings – about 4 hours a month. Students are also required to spend some of their time each semester attending extra trainings or workshops, Bonner events, and volunteering their time to causes they choose. Overall, a student will work, meet, and volunteer for close to 300 hours in an academic year as part of the Bonner Leaders Program.

Eligibility/Funding Questions

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid is the combination of resources to help a student fund their education. It can be a combination of grants, scholarships, work-study funds and loans. While grants and scholarships are “free money”- money that does not need to be paid back, work-study and loans are “self-help” by the student. Please visit the Enrollment Center for more information or to find out if you qualify for work-study money.

What is Work Study?

Work-study money is money that the student may earn through a job on- or off-campus to help pay for the cost of their education. At Augsburg, students earn their work-study money through paychecks paid out twice a month. This money is NOT guaranteed to students and in order to receive their work-study funds, they must find a job and work the hours to earn their work-study money.

More Questions?

Contact the Bonner Program Director, Elaine Eschenbacher at 612-330-1492 or