The Center for Reintegration

Back to Work, Back to Life

Step 1: Application Guide

Please read in FULL to learn of new opportunities for our applicants regarding online degrees and our new Early Application Advantage!

Until recently, the idea that people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder could move their lives forward or even reintegrate into their communities was thought by many to be unrealistic and unobtainable. But with the advent of newer medications, lives have been transformed.

However, medication is only the first step. The support of people and programs in the community is essential. Opening the door to educational opportunities is one way to help people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder transition from a world of chaos and withdrawal to one of accomplishment.

The goal of the Baer Reintegration Scholarship is to help people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder acquire the educational and vocational skills necessary to reintegrate into society, secure jobs, and regain their lives.

The Baer Reintegration Scholarship is funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation which supports the efforts of organizations working to stimulate education, research and direct care in the mental health field. A businessman and consultant, Mr. Baer personally faced mental health challenges during his life and sought to alleviate the suffering of those living with mental illness


To be eligible for consideration for the Baer Reintegration Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder

  • Be currently receiving medical treatment for the disease, including medications and psychiatric follow-up, or have treating physician’s documentation of past history noted on Recommendation Form

  • Be actively involved in rehabilitative or reintegration efforts, such as clubhouse membership, part-
    or full-time employment, volunteer efforts or
    school enrollment

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and plan to attend a school in the United States

  • Be age 18 years or older by September 1st, 2020


The Baer Reintegration Scholarship program is designed to offer financial assistance for a wide range of educational opportunities in which students work to attain a certificate or degree from an accredited institution. Eligible programs include:

  • High school equivalency programs

  • Trade or vocational school, or certificate programs

  • Associate’s degree

  • Bachelor’s degree

  • Graduate degree

NEW for 2020: Now Accepting Online Degree Applications! (read below for further criteria)

Our judges decided in the spring of 2019 to allow applicants attending school online to apply for the Baer Reintegration Scholarship. That being said, within the application the applicant must prove that he/she is immersed in their community in some way, and their reasoning for attending an online program is also taken into account. 

For instance, if someone works full-time or has childcare responsibilities that make it impossible for them to attend school in person, the Baer Reintegration judges would accept that application. However, the applicant would need to have a reference from a coworker or boss; or provide proof of employment. The parent who is unable to attend school in person due to childcare issues must show some type of immersion in their community, be that a reference from a friend or proof of community involvement. 

The second reason the judges would accept an online program is if the applicant’s course of study also includes a responsibility in person. For instance, an online program that has an internship or apprenticeship attached to the curriculum; examples being someone who is student-teaching or a social work student-intern, would qualify for our judges. Again, the onus is on the applicant to prove this involvement through course of study documentation, etc. 

ONLY in these instances will the Baer Reintegration Scholarship program accept an application from a student attending school online. If a student is attending school online and does not provide BOTH a valid reasoning for attending classes online AND proof of their employment, internship, or community involvement, they will be disqualified. 


The applications will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Academic success

  • References from three individuals, including the applicant’s psychiatrist or prescribing authority (references from family members are ineligible)

  • Quality of essay

  • Thoughtfulness and appropriateness of academic

    and vocational/career goals

  • Rehabilitation involvement

  • Success in dealing with the disease

  • Recent volunteer and/or vocational experience

  • Completion of application requirements including signing the Personal Consent & Release Form


The 2020-2021 Baer Reintegration Scholarship program will be effective for the fall 2020- spring 2021 school year only. Past winners wishing to continue/complete their education must reapply to renew their scholarship on an annual basis. (See Renewal Guidelines below.)

Awards are determined on a case-by-case basis. Scholarship money is sent directly to educational institutions to defray the costs of tuition, books, laboratory supplies and mandatory fees on behalf of winning candidates. All monies remaining at the end of the 2021 spring semester must be returned to the scholarship fund. The scholarship does not cover summer classes, transportation, computer, or room and board expenses.


Applicants must have an academic or a vocational goal
as well as a career goal, including a specific school they plan to attend. Applicants must enclose a copy of the desired school’s statement of standard costs for tuition, books, lab supplies, and mandatory fees from the school’s website or financial aid office. If applying for more than one school, include standard costs from all potential schools.


Once receiving the Baer Reintegration Scholarship, winners are encouraged to continue their educational pursuits and reapply for the program annually until they have achieved their educational goal. Past winners will receive top consideration as long as current academic records and rehabilitative/ reintegration efforts reflect dedication and commitment to an academic or a vocational goal, as well as to a career goal. Upon reapplication, past winners must enclose a current grade report, a recommendation form from a psychiatrist or prescribing authority, a signed Personal Consent & Release Form, and a reconfirmation of your goals and academic hours completed/remaining to fulfill your degree requirements. If a returning scholar is reapplying towards new degree, they must submit a completely new application.


The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation has an independent panel of judges comprised of psychiatric care professionals and consumers to select the scholarship winners. The judges will review all eligible scholarship applications in accordance with the stated criteria. They will select scholarship winners and determine monetary scholarship amounts for each winner based on financial needs and educational goals. All deliberations and decisions by the judging panel are final and confidential.

This application will be reviewed only by the panel of judges and will remain confidential. All application materials will be destroyed after the judging process is completed and will not be returned to the applicant. Decisions will be made in April of 2020. All applications will be notified of a decision in the spring of 2020.


For more information, please contact us at All questions will be answered by email only.


Essay must be no longer than three double-spaced typed pages and must include the following section headings; to make six separate sections to the essay.

  • My Career Goal and My Rationale for Choosing This Goal

  • How This Course of Study Will Help Me Achieve My Career Goal

  • How My Illness Has Impacted My Ability to Succeed in School, Maintain Employment or Establish Relationships

  • Steps I Have Taken to Prepare for Pursuit of This Education

  • Rationale for the Specific School Chosen

  • My Plans to Continue Treatment While Pursuing

    an Education


Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the U.S. Department of Education.
You can apply on the Web at or contact your school for an application form. DO NOT mail in any FAFSA info with your application package. If you are chosen as a finalist, you will be required to show proof that you completed a FAFSA prior to April 1, 2019. (FAFSA filing is not required of those applying for
financial assistance for high school or GED studies.)


Should your references be submitting a mailed in PDF form; please be sure to:

  • Complete the Applicant portion at the top of all three forms, including your signature

  • Prepare self-addressed, stamped envelopes to accompany the appropriate Recommendation Form for each of your three references

Note: The recommendations you receive back from your references must be enclosed with your completed Application and either be in their postmarked, unopened envelopes; or if not postmarked, signed on the unopened seal by the person providing the recommendation. You will submit these unopened envelopes together with your application materials.

  • Remind each reference that the form must be completed and mailed to you so that you may enclose it with your application packet and still make the January 12, 2018, deadline.

NEW: Early Application Advantage Program

The 2019-2020 application cycle for the 2020-2021 academic year is offering an exciting new opportunity for our Baer Reintegration Scholarship applicants. This fall, any applicant who turns their application in FULL by Monday, December 2nd 2019, will have the advantage of a pre-review of their application by the scholarship administrator. 

Each applicant who participates in the Early Application Advantage (EAA) option will be notified via email by Monday, December 16th, if their application is missing any key pieces that would not allow for it to pass on to the next round of judging. For instance, if a psychiatric evaluation is not turned in, or filled out incorrectly, the scholarship administration will alert the applicant for this to be fixed with enough time before the January deadline. Another example; should the essay not be written in the proper format, the scholarship administration would alert the applicant of this error with enough time for them to revise their essay and then turn in the fixed application by the final deadline in January. 

This opportunity has been created to encourage applicants to turn in their materials early, and also to allow for some applicants to receive a bit of needed guidance that would allow the judges to be able to review a qualified application. The Early Application Advantage option will NOT provide specific advice to individual applicants regarding the improvement of an application, but will simply alert applicants if there is a missing and/or invalid piece of their application that is able to be included or remedied prior to the final January deadline. 

Consider turning in your application by December 2nd to take advantage of this great opportunity! Please remember, if you decide not to turn in your application by December 2nd, you still have over a month to turn it in for our 1/17/20 deadline; and it will not count against you if you do not use EAA. Each application is judged in the spring, and at that point the judges will not know who turned their application in early and who did not. This program is purely to help anyone who wants to complete their work early and get an extra check on their materials. 


Before mailing in your application packet, be sure
to enclose:

  •  Completed Application Form

  • Your essay of no longer than three double-spaced typed pages

  • All three unopened, sealed Recommendation Forms

  • Your unofficial school transcripts (If you are chosen as a Finalist, official transcripts will be required at that time

  • Copy of your desired school’s statement of standard education costs from the school’s website or financial aid office

  • Signed Personal Consent & Release Form

  • Proof of employment or community involvement

Please note: Incomplete applications will be disqualified. Applications submitted to the Baer Reintegration Scholarship program will remain confidential. Materials submitted will not be returned. The Baer Reintegration Scholarship program will not be responsible for lost or misdirected mail.


  • Applications must be postmarked or emailed by January 17th, 2020

  • Applications must be completed in their entirety according to the directions provided; applicants must meet the eligibility requirements in order to be considered by the panel of independent judges

  • All applicants will be notified by Spring 2020 whether or not they have been chosen as a finalist. Winners will be notified in July 2020.