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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

  • Please ensure that you have all materials listed on the Application Form’s Check List with you when you complete the Application Form.
  • Follow instructions carefully and fully.
  • You must provide the names of up to 4 people who can speak to your qualifications. One reference should be academic, preferably from a teacher/instructor, or if you are not now in school then from a caseworker/counselor, employer or other person (NOT a relative) who knows you well. The second reference should be from someone who knows of your public and/or community service involvement (NOT a relative). Only two references are required for the application. The reference form is a link on the Application Form. You will need to email the link to the references you list, so that they can complete the form online. The Bernie Scholarship Program will use the information provided to verify the authenticity of references received on your behalf. Be sure to follow up with each of your references to ensure that they submit the form by the March 1st deadline.
  • The completed online Application Form was due on Friday, March 1, 2019, along with your references and other required documents. Late submissions will not be considered.

Online Application Form

  • 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, contact@berniescholarships.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 2019: All applicants, be sure to plan ahead to attend Interview Day for finalists on Saturday May 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and for the Awards Celebration on Thursday May 23rd beginning at 5:30 p.m. (dinner followed by the program) for all 2019 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.

Building a Better Community, One Scholarship at a Time