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What is the Difference Between Grant and Scholarship?


For a lot of people, getting into their dream college is something they look forward to for most of their lives. Even though it might seem like once you’ve gotten in, you’re set, but there’s another problem – paying for college. Now, unless your parents have set up an extensive college fund for you, it’s unlikely that you can afford college on your own, you might need some help. One of the most common ways to get this help is through student loans, but that means that you’ll have to be paying off these loans for years to come! To avoid that, you could go for a grant or a scholarship. The question that arises is, is there a difference between grant and scholarship?

Why learn the difference between grant and scholarship?

Both grants and scholarships are usually considered the same thing. They’re both fee compensation which you receive for continuing your college education and the best part about grants and scholarship is, you don’t have to pay back anything. While grants and scholarships are often considered the same thing, they are class apart from one another. Some key differences are what sets a grant from scholarships apart. To help you learn how they are different, let’s go through them one by one.

What is a Grant?

Grants are aid, but they’re gift based aid for students or researchers. For students, grants are given for specific situations. The one everyone is usually familiar with is called a “need based grant”. These are pretty self explanatory. They are grants that are given to specific students based on their individual needs.

An example of this would be if you belong to a low-income household but have had grades good enough to get into the college you love. In this situation, you can reach out to your college for a need based grant because you literally can’t pay the per year fee in full.

These grants are not the easiest to get but if you can prove that you do have a legitimate need for the grant, it’s likely that you’ll get it.

On the other hand, if you’re a researcher or have to do research as a part of your degree, you can also apply for a research grant. This would pay for all or part of the equipment you’ll need and anything else that you might end up needing.

As long as you can prove that you need the aid, you can apply for it. These grants are usually given out by both the government and private organizations.

What is a scholarship?

Scholarships are aid too, but the difference is that they are merit based aid. The basic type of scholarship is usually based on your achievements throughout high school. These achievements can be academic, which would be your grades. However, they can also be based on your other achievements like being in a sports team where you get a scholarship to play for the college team.

There’s usually a criteria for selection, but that varies from college to college and sometimes, if a college really wants a student to join their college, they can even set up a special criteria for that student which they can achieve so they qualify for the scholarship.

You can apply for a scholarship, but in most cases, the college decides who gets them. You don’t have to “prove” that you deserve it. It’s just awarded to specific students who stand out.

How are Grants and Scholarships similar?

Grants and Scholarships have certain similarities. It’s why many people end up confusing the two. Both of these are aids. Hence, neither of them needs to be returned. If they cover part of the total fee, you’ll only be liable to pay the percentage that isn’t covered, the rest would be paid by the grant.

Both Grants and Scholarships can be provided by the government or a private organization. Which leads to even more confusion. If the same organization provides both of them, people end up using the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference between a grant and a scholarship.

What is the difference between grant and scholarship?

The difference between grant and scholarship is the way you qualify to get them. As discussed above, grants are always “need based”. They’re only given to a student or a researcher who needs the funds. To qualify, a student must prove they can’t accord the fee and the rest is up to the government or the organization in which they’re applying. The authorities decide if your need is legitimate enough and based on it, they offer you the grant. In a scholarship, you just have to have the talent or the merit to qualify.

The way you get the aid is also different. For a grant, you have the option to apply. They’re usually not just awarded. You can simply fill out a form and send it over to be reviewed. For scholarships, the college decides for you. The amount of aid you get is also up to them. It’s a process initiated by them not you.

For a grant, it’s required of you to fill out a FAFSA form to prove that your family can’t afford to pay the fee. Scholarships usually don’t require this form.

The final key difference is that scholarships aren’t given to people that are pursuing their post graduate degrees. As a result, governments and organizations only give them to students that are starting their undergraduate degrees. Therefore, it can also be given mid-way, but those are rarer. Once you graduate college, the scholarships turn into “fellowships instead”. Grants, on the other hand, are given regardless of the level of education you’re currently at.

Even though people usually can’t tell, there is a lot of difference between a grant and a scholarship. Once you’ve gone through the differences, you’ll be able to apply to the right one, at the right time, in the right way!

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