Scholarships Vs Grants: A Financial Hope

Scholarship Vs Grant

“Education is the passport for tomorrow, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”, was famously said by Malcolm X. Acquiring education and financial aid between scholarships vs grants has been the top priority for many individuals regardless of their backgrounds. People may struggle today to get a great education, but the future yields a reward ten times if the initial investment is made. Financial shortcomings might be the biggest bottleneck when someone is trying to get a great education, and honestly, the tuition fees at most universities can be heavy on the wallet. As a result of this, the university, government or third-party groups provide financial aid in many forms and among which the most popular ones are scholarships and grants. But how are grants and scholarships different from each other, how can one apply to these, and many more questions will be answered in the blog below.

What Is A Grant Vs Scholarship?

It is true that a grant and a scholarship provide financial support in one way or the other, but when broken down, they are not similar aids. Let’s understand more about what a grant and a scholarship are.


A grant is a financial award given to somebody based on the need to support a project, activity or purpose they might be associated with. The grant giver is also committed to the end goal that is being achieved. For example, a local authority might provide grants to support a community initiative like setting up more eco-friendly solutions in the neighbourhood. This system favours both parties. The money provided by the grant giver does not have to be returned and hence does not act as a financial burden. Grants can support various activities, including research projects, community development initiatives, educational programs, artistic endeavours, healthcare initiatives, and more.


Scholarships are financial awards given to students primarily to pursue education. When comparing scholarships vs grants, the former is based on the individual’s merit, such as academic achievements, talents, skills, or specific criteria determined by the scholarship provider. A scholarship generally has a certain schedule to it and is offered to the entire eligible population, but at a limited number hence they are competitive. Each scholarship differs based on the provider, but they can cover various aspects such as partial or complete tuition fees, educational material, extracurriculars, travel and even living expenses. A scholarship is provided to exceptional individuals therefore, students can use ample time to achieve this level to qualify for it. Numerous scholarships are provided by universities, private organizations, government agencies, or individuals. 

Difference Between Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships might fall in the same circle, but they are quite distinct from each other. The table below differentiates between grants and scholarships.

Scholarships Grants 
Scholarships are given to individuals based on merit and performance determined by the scholarship provider.Grants, on the other hand, are given based on a specific need or purpose. The end goal to which the grant is given also aligns with the focus of the grant giver.
The recipients of a scholarship are mostly students in high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.Grants are offered to students attending college or university, veterans, non-profit organizations, businesses, etc. 
The application process for scholarships can be extensive, with past educational certificates and other documents to prove the student’s merit credibility. Comparing scholarships vs grants, the latter has an easier application process and generally requires few documents.
There are a large number of scholarships available for students to avail. However, this also means students will have to spend a significant among of time researching the best one. Grants are limited in number and typically are focused on set goals. Hence an individual can avail of them or even request them from the grant provider.
When discussing repayment between scholarships vs grants, the funds provided through a scholarship do not need to be repaid and act as a financial gift to students if they meet the eligibility criteria.Most grants do not require repayment, however, in some cases, if the final goal of the grant is not achieved, then the individual might have to reimburse the amount.

Importance Of Grants & Scholarships When Studying Abroad

It is no doubt that any financial assistance can help move mountains when a student is planning a higher education. Below are the importance of grants and scholarships to international students.

Financial Assistance

Tuitions fees can be a heavy bearing on many individuals, especially when studying abroad at a prestigious university. Additionally, living expenses, travel, educational material, etc all cost money that is not easily available to a student. Grants and scholarships provide a great deal of assistance to tackle all these challenges.

Academic Recognition

Scholarships and grants are not easily given to everyone, a certain individual must show excellence in specific aspects to acquire them. This by itself poses as a trophy of recognition towards the individual’s efforts and hard work.

Enhanced Opportunities

Having received a scholarship or a grant is already a benefit, but it also adds great value to the individual’s portfolio. This, in turn, provides a good perspective of the person for future interviewers. 

Wider Experiences

Many scholarships provide students with the chance to have their tuition fees covered and sometimes even living expenses. An individual who has acquired such scholarships will be able to experience a whole different culture and study abroad for nearly free, which promotes broadening horizons.

How To Apply For Scholarships Vs Grants

With the numerous scholarships and grants available, it can get daunting when applying for one. Below are the general steps required when applying for a scholarship and a grant. It is important to remember that each financial aid might have its unique procedures as well.

Applying For A Scholarship

  1. Some scholarships serve many purposes, some might be dedicated towards education and some not. Additionally, there are scholarships provided by the institute, government, third parties, etc hence it is crucial to filter them down and find the right one. This could take time, but it is important to be thorough with them. An individual can also apply for multiple scholarships, and websites like Fastweb and should help track down scholarships.
  2. When comparing scholarships vs grants, the former has a wide set of eligibility criteria, as each is a unique one. Understanding these criteria is crucial, which greatly helps in filtering down the list. Keep an eye out for academic performance, financial need, community involvement, leadership experience, and essay or application prompts.
  3. Gather the required documents and ensure they are updated if a recent version is necessary. If a statement of purpose is required, a strong document that states the individual’s point of view must be submitted. 
  4. Most scholarships have set deadlines within which all the necessary procedures must be completed. A late submission could possibly cancel out the scholarship for that term. 
  5. Finally, submit the application and all the required documents for the scholarship and start tracking the application status. It could take a long time, depending on the scholarship, to get a response.

Applying For A Grant

  1. When comparing scholarships vs grants, the latter does require an immense amount of research as grants are provided by specific organizations. However, it is important to keep track of them, websites like and Foundation Center can help with this. A good way to research grants is to search for which organization has a similar alignment with the individual’s goals.
  2. Review the documents required and also ensure the grant provider is compliant with the goals at focus. Understand the project focus, target audience, geographic location, funding priorities, and any specific requirements outlined by the grant provider.
  3. Each grant might have a different application procedure, and the relevant website will provide a detailed guide for this. In many cases, a grant proposal will be required from the individual, which mentions budget, grant allocation, time structure, etc. This proposal could be the deciding factor towards providing the grant.
  4. Once all the necessary documents are ready, the application can be proofread and submitted. Track the application, and if there is no response from the organization in a long while, an email or letter requesting an update can be submitted.

Types Of Scholarships & Grants 

There are a wide variety of financial aids in the market that help students or individuals achieve goals. Regarding scholarships vs grants, there are different types for each of them which differ in terms of eligibility and fund provider. The different types are mentioned below.


  1. Merit-Based Scholarships
  2. Need-Based Scholarships
  3. Athletic Scholarships
  4. Minority Scholarships
  5. Creative and Performing Arts Scholarships
  6. Career-Specific Scholarships


  1. Federal Grants
  2. State Grants
  3. Institutional Grants
  4. Career-Specific Grants


Scholarships and grants are a god given to individuals who aspire to achieve their goals but lack only finance. There is always the option of student loans, but these have hefty interest rates and will be a burden during repayment if the question of “how are grants and scholarships different from student loans” arises. Every individual must make an attempt to attain scholarships and grants as there is no repayment, and there are numerous of them to avail, so much so that some of them even go unclaimed. Financial aid is paramount when trying to reach for the stars, but it is equally important that the individual takes their initial steps at the base.


Q1. What is a grant in university?

Ans: A grant at university is a non-repayable financial aid that is usually based on need or merit.

Q2. Is a scholarship like a loan?

Ans: A scholarship differs from a loan in that it is a non-repayable source of financial aid.

Q3. Which is better financial aid or scholarship?

Ans: The choice between financial help and a scholarship is determined by the individual’s circumstances and needs.

Q4. What is a loan scholarship?

Ans: A loan scholarship combines aspects of both a loan and a scholarship, generally offering financial aid that must be repaid but at a lower interest rate or under other favourable terms.

Q5. What is the benefit of a scholarship?

Ans: A scholarship provides financial aid for education, alleviating the burden of tuition fees and other expenses without the requirement for payback.

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