Grants VS. Scholarship – Differences

When you’re heading to college or university there is a lot of information to take in and lots of things you need to plan. One of the most important things to organize for university or college is how you are going to pay for it. Many of us require the help of scholarships and grants to help us get through university.

There is often a lot of confusion between the different types of financial aid available to you. Two of the most common types of financial aid for college students are grants and scholarships – so what is the difference between the two? That’s what we shall look at in today’s guide.

What are Grants?

College grants are a form of funding that does not need to be repaid. The money is awarded to students that meet the specific requirements of the grant. Often this is a mixture of evidence of academic excellence as well as financial need.

There are several different types of grants. The most common type of grant is the government grant. Government college grants can be awarded for a wide range of reasons, with some very general and others with very strict eligibility criteria. Foundation grants are another type of college grant and these are offered by private non-profit organizations and are similar to government grants in that they don’t need to be repaid.

However these types of grants are usually for very specific applicants and the application process can often be a lot more comprehensive than government college grants.

What is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are similar to grants in that they are financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Most scholarships are awarded by the college or university itself rather than being given to you from the government.

The application process for a scholarship is different to a grant and they are usually less based on financial need and more on talent and academic abilities. Grants don’t need to be given out for any reason except financial need, whereas scholarships are usually awarded for reasons such as having an exceptional GPA or extraordinary sport or music ability.

A simple way to look at it is that scholarships are based on merit whereas grants are based on need. Often scholarships have a lot more restrictions attached to the money. For example, if you receive your scholarship based on exceptional grades you may be required to maintain good grades throughout college to keep your scholarship. If you drop below the agreed grades you may lose your scholarship.

Most universities and colleges of scholarships to help students make it through their studies. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship you should contact your potential or current educational institution to find out what scholarships they offer. Many colleges automatically put students forward for scholarships that they may be eligible for, so it’s always a good idea to get the best grades possible before applying as you will be up against every other student.

You can find out more about scholarships on your college or university website – most list available scholarships and all the information you will need on their websites.

Should I apply for a Grant or a Scholarship?

If you’re looking for financial aid to help you get through college or university you should apply for as many grants and scholarships as you can to ensure you give yourself the best chance possible. Many students have more than one grant or scholarship. For example, you might have an academic scholarship from your college but also be eligible for a government grant based on your financial situation, such as if you come from a low-income family.

So you don’t waste your time when looking for financial aid, always research the different grants and scholarships that are available to ensure that you are eligible for each one. Some have very strict criteria, so if you don’t meet that criteria you should look for ones that you do. Many scholarships and grants, in particular, have thousands of students applying for them so competition can be incredibly fierce. Putting in as many applications as you can is your best chance to be successful.

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