Nov 202011

College Grants And Scholarships – What are the differences?

Both education grants and scholarships allow students to afford college tuition fees without having to worry or stress about paying the money back. However, there are a few key differences between college grants and scholarships. Knowing the differences between these two financial aid options is key if students want the highest chance of being able to pay their college tuition fees.

Students, who wish to go to college or university, that have done research on financial aid available are likely to notice two things: one, that there is a lot of confusion about how scholarships and college grants are different, and two, that there are a surprising number of websites out there offering easy access to grant money from the government. Becoming familiar with all of the legitimate grant websites, as well as all the fake ones, is essential if students want to successfully get the right financial aid quickly. Learning the differences between legitimate college grants and scholarships on offer to college students will also help students to get the best financial aid quickly.

Similarities between college grants and scholarships.

Before the differences are addressed, it is important to note the similarities between education grants and scholarships. To best understand the differences between college grants and scholarships, students first need to understand the similarities and then build upon that knowledge by discovering the differences. Knowing both the similarities and differences will lead to students making the most informed decision possible about their academic future. College is an important step that a lot of people choose to take and it will have an effect on later life. The more potential students learn about college grants and scholarships, the better their decision about the right financial aid will be.

The confusion between college grants and scholarships stems from the fact that they have a lot of similarities. Both college grants and scholarships, unlike college loans, are regarded as “free money” because students aren’t expected to pay these types of financial aid back. Student loans, unlike grants and scholarships, often require repayments with added interest once graduation has occurred. Out of the three main types of financial aid that will help students to cover the costs of college, college scholarships and grants are the most sought after.

Grants are traditionally described as tax exempt sums of money given by non-profit organizations. The best example of an organization that offers college grants is the federal government. Students will also find that certain corporations are willing to provide grants to college students, in return for project results. There are a variety of grants available and they generally fall into two categories: those that are awarded based on the amount of financial need and those that are awarded based on project work that the student will undertake during their course.

Most grants are awarded to students that can prove, with an application, that they need financial aid in order to cover the cost of college or they won’t be able to attend. Federal college grants are grants awarded by the government that will allow individual students to pay for their college fees or career training. Examples of federal grants that students may be eligible for are the Pell Grant, TEACH, FSEOG, Academic Competitiveness Grant and National SMART grant. The amount of grant money that students receive is based on their calculated financial need.

However, there are grants that have other non-financial related criteria attached to them E.G.  corporations that give grant money for student projects expect students to report back with their findings to whoever awarded the grant.

In terms of what qualifies as a grant and what is regarded as a scholarship, there is often not much difference. Both are awarded with the same intention: that students will use the money to pay for college or career training. However, the reason for awarding the specific grant or scholarship may be different. The main reason that grants are awarded is to help those that need financial aid actually afford to complete a college education. Scholarships are usually awarded by educational institutions to those who indicate that they have performed well academically or have the ability to be successful in the future. A lot of available scholarships are considered ‘merit-based’, not ‘financial need based’ like college grants, and there is often a lot of competition surrounding them.

Grant amounts, requirements and expectations of students that receive the grants vary widely so it is important that students look at the specific requirements of each available grant before applying. Billions of dollars of grant money is estimated to be available and the popularity of college grants rivals that of college scholarships. Like college grants, scholarships are specifically designed to benefit those attending college. Both college grants and scholarships can be used to pay for college tuition, in part or in full, while studying.

The main difference between college grants and scholarships

The main difference between college grants and scholarships lies in their eligibility requirements. Scholarships require students who are applying to have above a certain grade point average (GPA) and sometimes do over certain number of college hours in the first year. Some scholarships are gender-based, some are field-based E.G. specifically designed to help those who want to study a science based course. Scholarships tend to be harder to acquire because they have rigid selection requirements and there is a lot of competition for most available college scholarships.

Grants are considered a lot easier than scholarships to obtain because they aren’t specifically based on academic achievement.… as long as there is financial need.  As grants are normally based on the financial needs of an individual, students who need financial help are more likely to acquire this type of financial aid easily. A key difference between college grants and scholarships is that after grant money has been awarded to students, students are not normally required to meet further objectives like attending a certain number of college hours.

In conclusion, while some aspects of college grants and scholarships remain the same, in other aspects, they vary widely. College grants and scholarships both aim to help students to afford a college experience and neither of these two types of financial aid have to be repaid. However, the eligibility requirements for each type differs along with the possible reasons for awarding the grant or scholarship money. When students are deciding what financial aid to apply for, it is important that individual circumstances are taken into account E.G. the subject of study, where the study will take place, financial situation and academic achievements, to determine the best financial aid type, college grants and scholarships.

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