What is the Difference Between a Scholarship and a Grant?

There’s frequently confusion about the difference between a scholarship and a grant. If you’re considering attending college in the near future, the chances are excellent that you’ve investigated ways to finance your venture. Both grants and scholarships are ways individuals can achieve their academic goals without incurring a mountain of debt via loans, but there are a few subtle differences. In the article below, these differences will be explored and the terms more clearly explained.

It’s in the Name

A scholarship is typically structured in order to assist college students with tuition costs. While some are based on need, such as those offered to students from less affluent communities, many have other stipulations. High academic achievement is usually a hallmark of those to whom a scholarship is awarded. Moreover, a specified level of excellence must usually be maintained in order to keep a scholarship for more than one term.

Scholarships are a form of monetary reward for achievement, in that repayment is never required. While students must continue to meet the standards established for the scholarship award, it can defray or even completely pay for tuition, books, and even housing needs. However, many scholarships do require students to maintain a consistent grade point average and continue to take a full course load of 12 credit hours per semester. There may also be limits placed on what other financial resources the student can use, based on the specific scholarship program.

Beyond Tuition

Perhaps the largest difference between a scholarship and a grant lies in intent. Grants, unlike scholarships, aren’t specifically geared towards funding a college education. While there are many grant programs that do offer students awards specifically geared to defray their tuition costs, such as state-funded lottery programs, grants exist for almost every purpose under the sun.

Essentially, while private organizations or individuals may fund grants, they are often a way for the federal government to disperse public monies remaining after taxation. From victims of natural disasters to new entrepreneurs, anyone can apply for a grant for any reason. They need not be going to college.

People apply for grants by submitting written proposals to the grant’s entity. These documents generally outline the project for which the money would be used and provide a rationale for why their project is worthy of funding. One typical stipulation of a grant is that the recipient complete the project proposed in their application.

While grants may be awarded for non-scholastic purposes, it’s important to remember that many funding entities focus their efforts on those pursuing academic goals. Beyond undergraduate education, grants are often the means by which students pursuing doctoral research fund their investigations and studies. While competition for the richest grants is fierce, there are a number of options students can explore when it comes time to finance their research designs.

Perhaps the most important lesson offered by the last decade of college graduates is that debt need not be an expected outcome. In fact, if students apply for grants or scholarships, they can potentially graduate entirely free of the crushing burden of debt currently afflicting so many. Although both forms of funding are ideal, the difference between a scholarship and a grant is in the requirements appended to the funds.

Recommended Resource: Where To Find the Best Scholarships For Your Degree Choice