Grants vs Scholarships

December 2, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Grants vs Scholarships

When it comes to paying for school, financial aid can refer to either money that is provided to you or money that is lent to you. You might be wondering about grants vs scholarships. Grants and scholarships are two types of financial aid that do not require the recipient to make any kind of repayment. Because of this, they are referred to as gift aid.

All kinds of pupils obtain gift aid. The majority of grants are distributed on the basis of one’s level of financial need. On the other hand, a sizeable amount of gift aid is determined by academic performance.

It is highly recommended that you submit an application for grants and scholarships if you are considering attending college. However, with the “grants vs scholarships”, financial assistance covers just a portion of the typical cost of attending college. This is only one piece of the puzzle, which may also involve money from loans, savings from family members, and other sources of funding.

What is a Grant?

To know the difference between “grants vs scholarships”, we must first define each term. To start, we must know “what is a grant?”. The student must demonstrate that they have a financial need in order to be eligible for a grant. This need is measured as the difference between the college’s cost of attendance (COA) and the estimated family contribution (EFC). The Expected Family Contribution is used as the only criterion for awarding some programs, such as the Federal Pell Grant. There is typically a minimum income requirement in order to qualify for state grants, such as the California Grants and the New York TAP Grants.

View of a teacher talking to a student.

Grants are typically given out by several levels of government, including the federal and state levels, as well as colleges and universities.

The Federal Pell Grant is the single grant program that offers the most funding overall. Nearly half of all grants come from educational institutions such as colleges and universities, more than a quarter come from the federal government in the form of Pell Grants, and the remaining funding comes from a combination of state grant programs and assistance provided by the military.

Who is Eligible for a Pell Grant?

Students might be required to fill out the FAFSA in order to be considered for a Pell Grant. The United States Department of Education has made this material available to the public. It compiles a student’s financial information into a single location. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to ascertain not only eligible for grants but also for student loans. There is a possibility that students will be required to reveal a substantial amount of personal information. This contains information regarding both their own income as well as the income of their parents.

Students may also be required to demonstrate that they meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for this grant:

  • Are undergraduates or postbaccalaureate students
  • Have a high school diploma
  • Are enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible school
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens

Grants, both federal and state, are a form of financial assistance that does not normally require the recipient, the student, to make any sort of repayment. All of the eligibility requirements are the same for state awards.

It is essential to be aware that certain educational institutions provide financial aid in the form of grants. It’s possible that these are for certain programs the institution offers. In this scenario, the student may be qualified for the opportunity if he or she satisfies the standards that have been established by the institution. The requirements can very widely differ from case to case. A few examples of this would be athletics, academics, or educational degrees.

What is a Scholarship?

Having known what a grant is, we’ll now define what is a scholarship. The accomplishments of an applicant are taken into consideration when determining whether or not they should be awarded a scholarship. Scholarships that are given out based on academic achievement, creative ability, or athletic prowess are some examples of merit scholarships. Private scholarship providers, which might include foundations, philanthropists, unions, businesses, professional membership organizations, fraternal groups, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions, are typically the ones who hand out scholarships.

View of a student searching about a scholarship grant.

There are a few hundred institutions that give out academic scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition to students. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of the student’s high school grade point average (GPA), admissions test scores, and class rank.

With regards to “grants vs scholarships”, some scholarships are structured very much like grants in certain aspects. To continue receiving a need-based grant, for instance, the student must usually keep their grade point average over a certain threshold.

Fellowships are another name for scholarships, and they are most commonly offered to graduate students.

There are millions of students who are awarded approximately $6 billion worth of private scholarships and fellowships each year. The typical amount of a college scholarship is around $4,000, and around one in every eight college students is awarded one.

A student may be required to submit an application along with the following items in order to be considered for scholarships:

  • School transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Other specific required information

Grant vs scholarship – Where to find them

Having defined the two, “grants vs scholarships”, as a student, the question now is where to find them. The grants that are available originate from various federal government initiatives. These programs receive their financing from the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, sometimes known as FSEOG. Students who can demonstrate that they are in need financially may be eligible for them.

As part of the work that they conduct, additional funding programs should be made available. This consists of grants for the Afghanistan Service. According to information provided by the Federal Student Aid website, another kind of grant is provided to a student who served in the armed forces in Iraq or in another region. There are further grants available at the state level and other grants at the local level.

Unidentified person typing on a table.

There are some grants available from organizations that are looking to hire more people. According to the website for the Federal Student Aid program, one example is a TEACH Grant, which stands for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education program. People who have an interest in pursuing a career in teaching can receive assistance from this program in order to do so. Filling in educational gaps is one of the primary purposes of the TEACH Grant program.

A scholarship can be established by any organization that chooses to do so. You can find these scholarships by researching groups or organizations one by one. You might ask your guidance counselor about the best place to look for scholarships, use a website that does scholarship searches, or use a combination of the two. Websites for both your city and state can also be very useful resources.

What is the Difference Between Applying for a Scholarship and a Grant?

What is the difference between applying for a scholarship and a grant? The application process for grants and scholarships is also distinct from one another. As was mentioned, there are numerous applications and information submission methods for financial aid, but they all begin with the FAFSA.

It’s possible that students who want to apply for other kinds of grants may need to fill out specialized applications for those grants. This varies according to the company that is providing them. Examine the stipulations that must be met to receive the funding. To be eligible, you must follow them to the letter.

The application process for scholarships is handled independently. There are several educational institutions that base their scholarship selections on the FAFSA. On the other hand, the application procedure for scholarships offered by private organizations could be significantly more difficult. The first step for students is to investigate the various scholarship opportunities that are open to them. After that, it is necessary for them to make contact with the respective organizations in order to inquire about the available scholarships. After that, they are obligated to fill out the necessary information.

View of a woman using a laptop while studying.

This could include things like essays. In some cases, this may also include disclosing personal information. Recommendation letters are frequently required for applications. The student’s grade point average (GPA) as well as their ACT and SAT test scores may also be required. The most important thing is to provide the organization that is awarding the scholarship with all of the information that they have requested.

To summarize everything, the primary distinction between grants and scholarships is that grants are often awarded on the basis of financial need, whereas scholarships might be awarded on the basis of financial need or merit. Scholarships might be made available by the government, private groups, or even by specific colleges and institutions.

Grants, on the other hand, are often awarded by governmental bodies. Both types of financial aid are crucial in assisting students in paying for college, and students should investigate all of the choices available to them in terms of financial aid to ensure that they will be able to afford to attend the college of their choice.

Why Apply for Grants and Scholarships?

With everything else going on in your life, such as school, a job, and extracurricular activities, it’s possible that filling out scholarship applications isn’t at the top of your to-do list right now. It’s natural to question why to apply for grants and scholarships and it’s even worth it to submit an application for a scholarship when you know there’s a good chance you won’t get it due to how tough it is.

There are a variety of scholarships available to people of all ages, educational levels, career paths, and demographic backgrounds that need financial assistance. It is possible to take responsibility for your financial position with minimal investment of time and effort by applying for grants and scholarships that do not require applicants to write essays.

Aid in the amount of around $50 billion is distributed annually via scholarships and grants, with the United States federal government contributing $46 billion and private sources contributing $3.3 billion. Thousands of students are able to minimize or eliminate their dependence on private student loans and federal student loans with the assistance of these programs.

In spite of this relief, the student debt crisis has continued to worsen in recent years, with the amount owed on such loans increasing by 144% since 2007. Approximately 45 million people in the United States are presently making payments on their student loans, bringing the total amount owed to more than $1.7 trillion. To our good fortune, the number of donors who give money for scholarships continues to rise year after year, which results in fresh prospects for financial assistance each and every day.

Who can Apply for Scholarships and Grants?

Having all the information necessary between “grants vs scholarships”, who are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants? The eligibility restrictions that the donor establishes determine the application pool that is considered for each scholarship and grant opportunity. While there are scholarships that are available to every student who wishes to apply, there are also scholarships that are far more selective.

Because there will be fewer people who are qualified to apply for the scholarship if it has additional eligibility conditions, you will have a better chance of being chosen as the winner of the scholarship.

Between “grants vs scholarships”, always make sure that you have met the eligibility requirements before submitting an application. You can also search for scholarships by category, which will allow you to uncover scholarships for women, scholarships for students from underrepresented minorities, scholarships for students studying in specific fields, and scholarships for students with specific abilities or hobbies.

Want to learn more about the differences between grants vs scholarships and your chances of getting one? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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