If you are seeking financial aid, you may we wondering what the major differences are between grants and scholarships. Financing your higher education has never been more expensive, so it you’re looking to get a top-notch education and graduate with little to no debt, your best bet, aside from winning the lottery, is to apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can. Scholarships and grants both fall into the category of loans that you don’t have to pay back, unlike student loans. There are a few key differences between the two. Here are the three major differences between grants and scholarships.
One of the biggest differences between grants and scholarships is who provides the award. Scholarships are awarded by various kinds of organizations, institutes, associations, or clubs. For instance, there are scholarships for athletics, music, arts, and more awarded by relevant organizations. Individual schools may award scholarships, as may groups with certain pre-existing characteristics such as religion or ethnicity, beliefs, or shared passions. A grant is typically awarded by a non-profit organization, including and especially the government, which awards numerous grants each year in various realms. Grants are also issued by private and non-profit foundations.
Scholarships are generally funded by certain organizations for applicants who meet specific requirements, like minimum GPAs, excellence in academic or athletic areas, or participation in a community organization. It is generally required that the applicant demonstrate previous dedication to a certain club, for instance, multiple active years in a relevant organization, in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Usually these requirements must be met both before and after the scholarship is awarded. A grant is to be used toward a certain goal or project, which must be outlined and explained as part of the application. Grants are awarded to applicants who demonstrate that they need the financial assistance or that they can meet all requirements and conditions necessary for receiving the grant.
While scholarships need not be repaid, many are contingent on meeting certain standards and can be revoked if those standards are not met. For instance, if a scholarship is contingent on the recipient maintaining a certain GPA, if that minimum is not met, the scholarship can be revoked. Regarding grants, once they are awarded, they generally cannot be taken back, though some grants issued by foundations may have strict guidelines and restrictions about how the money is used.
Make sure that you understand and abide by whatever scholarship or grant you are awarded, so there is no confusion and you don’t end up in trouble later. Also, there are numerous grant and scholarships scams floating around the internet, so ensure you go to a reputable source. For government grants, the only place to apply online remains www.grants.gov. There are a good number of websites to help you find scholarships, but make sure to inquire with your prospective school to find any scholarships special to that school. And finally, be sure to get a good head start with your scholarship and grant hunt and applications. Start to finish, the process can take months, so plan ahead.