How You Can Become a Bernie Scholar
The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program considers the application an exciting process. We always look forward to reviewing and getting to know each applicant. We want the process to be enjoyable for applicants too, so please do not hesitate to ask questions. Provided below are the procedures to follow.
Who May Apply
- Low-income students who live in Montgomery County, Maryland, and who receive housing assistance from Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC), the Scotland Community or from housing owned or managed by Rockville Housing Enterprises, Edgewood Management or Forest Park Apartments, and other students who can prove they have a Section 8 or Public Housing rental subsidy.
- Applicants must not exceed household income caps noted on the Application Form.
- Graduating high school students and other adults who are beginning or returning to college or vocational training and have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
- “Dreamers” who are not eligible for financial aid due to their immigrant status and who have attended a Montgomery County high school for 3 years starting 2005-2006 school years or later, graduated or received a GED, registered at a Maryland Community College within 4 years of high school graduation or receiving a GED in Maryland.
- Applicants who are prior scholarship recipients, if they still meet eligibility requirements.
How To Apply
- In January each year, we post the scholarship Application Form here on The Bernie website, send recruitment flyers to the referring subsidized housing agencies noted above, and we ask Montgomery County Public School counselors to distribute our recruitment flyers to all high school seniors.
- Applications with all required documentation and two references from non-relatives are usually due in March (the Application Form gives the due date).
- If the Application Form isn’t submitted online by the due date or isn’t complete with all required documentation and references, it will be denied, so pay close attention to the requirements and deadline. Review the Checklist on the Application Form to ensure that all items listed are fully addressed and that required information and two references from non-relatives are completed and submitted online through this website. If not, the application will be denied.
Online Application Form
- The 2019 Application Form will be posted in January 2019.
- This is an online Application Form which MUST be submitted online. You will see forms for the two references required, follow up with your references and check to be sure that they have submitted their online forms by the due date.
- For free assistance in completing this online Application Form, contact Montgomery College’s Educational Opportunity Center at 240-567-5644, a counselor at your family’s housing agency, or The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Here is an ED blog about what is needed to complete the FAFSA: https://blog.ed.gov/2017/09/7-things-need-fill-2018-19-fafsa-form/.
What to Expect After Submitting an Application
- Applications are reviewed by a committee of the Board. Applicants who meet eligibility requirements and submit fully completed Application Forms with the other required information and online references by the deadline will be invited as finalists to be interviewed by Board members on Interview Day.
- For 2018: All applicants, be sure to plan ahead to attend Interview Day for finalists on Saturday May 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and for the Awards Celebration on Thursday May 17th beginning at 5:30 p.m. (dinner followed by the program) for all 2018 award recipients and their families. Finalists are required to be present for an interview on Interview Day in the morning. Exceptions are made if on Interview Day a finalist has a personal or family emergency, required employment or is out of state due to educational commitments. However, finalists who cannot be interviewed in person are required to make arrangements for a phone interview on Interview Day in the morning.
- After the interviews, finalists will be informed within a few days whether or not they have been chosen to receive a Bernie Scholarship award.
- The program encourages all awardees to attend our exciting and joyous Awards Celebration and to bring young and old family members and a mentor or teacher to the celebration, if you wish. The celebration event includes dinner, awards presentations, music and a Keynote Speaker. It is a special family event—a celebration of each award recipient’s achievements and educational goals.
- Awardees will be given an instructional sheet that explains the process by which their award funds will be sent to their college or training program for tuition or books, or sometimes for other related expenses.