What’s the Difference Between a Scholarship and Grant?
If you are new to the college game, getting financial aid can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But not to worry, there is help. Two of the most common forms of ways students pay for a higher education include scholarships and grants. While they can both be a life saver, it can be easy to confuse the two.
Let’s begin with the scholarship, as it is the most advantageous of the two. Scholarships are awarded to students based on any number of factors. These can include area of study, location, race, gender, religion, year of study, and many others. Two of the most common ways they are awarded is by academic standards, or essentially to those who have good grades. The other is needs based, or to those students who can demonstrate a financial need. Often times scholarships can be awarded on a combination of the two. The upside to being awarded a scholarship is that they lend the student a prestige and can show future employers that you do indeed stand out. The downside to scholarships is that they are very competitive. In fact, it is not unusual for hundreds or thousands of students to compete for each individual scholarship.
But don’t get downtrodden just yet. There are also grants available to students. These are commonly given away on a needs, or financial, basis. Students who meet or whose families meet the requirements for grants can be awarded a great deal of funds to help curb the cost of a college or university education. The best part about grants is that they are not competitive, and everyone who qualifies for a grant gets one.
There are also several similarities between scholarships and grants. The main one being that scholarships and grants are basically free money that students get for college and do not have to paid back as student loans do. However, there are several stipulations that generally come with scholarships and grants. Students are often asked to maintain a certain GPA while receiving funds. They must also take so many hours per semester in order to receive a grant or scholarship. Additionally, many scholarships and grants require students to graduate and even by a certain date. Not doing so can forfeit a student’s scholarship and/or grant and result in part or the entire amount having to be repaid to the entity who awarded it.
To learn more about which scholarships and grants you would like to receive, pay a visit to the financial aid office of the school you are attending or would like to attend.