Application Process

How You Can Become a Bernie Scholar

The Bernie Scholarship is excited to help you achieve your dreams. We take the application process very seriously, and we look forward to reviewing and getting to know each applicant. We want the process to be enjoyable for the applicants as well, so we encourage you to reach out and ask questions. Here are some guidelines 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 three years starting 2005-2006 school years or later, graduated or received a GED, registered at a Maryland Community College within four years of high school graduation or earning a GED in Maryland.
  • Applicants who are prior scholarship recipients, if they still meet eligibility requirements.

Bernie Flyer 2020 English

Bernie Flyer 2020 Spanish

Bernie Flyer 2020 Amharic


How To Apply:

  • The 2020 Application Form is now available.
  • Please ensure that you have all the materials listed on the Application Form's Checklist with you when you complete the Application Form.
  • Follow the instructions carefully and thoroughly.
  • You must provide the names of two people who can speak to your qualifications. One reference should be academic, preferably from a teacher or instructor, or if you are not currently in school, then from a caseworker/counselor, employer or another 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 deadline.
  • The completed online Application Form is due on Sunday, March 1, 2020, along with your references and other required documents. Please note: Late submissions will not be considered.

Documents to Complete:

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,
  • Here is an ED blog about what is needed to complete the FAFSA:

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 2020: All applicants, be sure to plan ahead to attend Interview Day for finalists on Saturday, May 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (this is required) and for the 25th Anniversary Gala and Awards Celebration on Thursday, June 4th from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. (hear from two prior awardees about their changed lives, enjoy entertainment and dinner followed by the program) for all 2020 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 25th Anniversary Gala and Awards Celebration and to bring family members to the celebration if you wish. The celebration event includes dinner, awards presentations, music, and a Keynote Speaker.  It is a unique 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.


Additional Resources

The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program has put together a list of resources that you may find useful. Please click on the button below for more information.