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What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?

The major difference between a grant and a scholarship is that grants tend to be tied more to like state government or federal government money and scholarships tend to be directly from a university or a private organization. This is not always the case but in most cases. Do know that grants can come from Grants can also come from your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization as well. Unlike scholarships, most grant programs are need-based, not merit-based. In order to qualify for grants, you typically have to provide financial information about yourself and your parents/guardians.

When you complete the FAFSA you are potentially eligible for certain grants from the federal government and the state government so the governments renew your financial eligibility and they give you grants like every time you fill out the FAFSA, which you have to fill out every year. FAFSA is not the only way you can get grants but it is the main way. Like I said, some universities might have grants also.

The similarity between a grant and a scholarship is that many grants and scholarships you don’t have to pay back.

A Note On International Students | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship

Here’s what is the difference between a grant and a scholarship for international students. International students who are not permanent residents of the U.S are not eligible for federal aid from the FAFSA, but international students should still file the form because some schools may require it in order to determine if you could receive aid directly from the school or from the state where the school is located. However, international students can get certain scholarships.

The website is dedicated to students looking to study in the United States from other countries. I haven’t used it myself but it seems like it has some really useful resources along with a list of scholarships for international students looking to study in the US. In addition, international students are eligible, many times, for merit scholarships at state schools. A lot of the top schools like the Ivies don’t give out merit scholarships. Everybody there is smart and involved in their community so if they did they’d be run dry. Another note is that if you are applying for financial aid at any school in the US, be aware it might switch you over to a need-aware process. For students in the US, many schools like Harvard and Stanford are need-blind to finances so if I needed a lot of money to attend their school they wouldn’t take that into account when they’re admitting me to their college. For international students, many times that process switches and it becomes need-aware meaning that if you are looking for financial aid at those schools it does contribute to whether or not you get into that school. 


The different types of grants available and the different types of scholarships available | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship


Different Types Of Grants | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship

The different types of grants you can get from the federal government are the:

1) Institutional Scholarships | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship

Institutional scholarships come from the colleges themselves. They can be both merit and need-based. Some schools offer both or only one of those types of aid. Merit-based aid means aid that is awarded to you for academic and/or extracurricular achievement. Need-based means the colleges consider you/your parents’ income when deciding whether to give your their scholarship. Specific things to watch out for is if your colleges meet 100% of need and if they meet 100% of need without loans so some schools they’ll say like they’ll cover 100% of your demonstrated need but they’ll add in about 6,000 dollars of loans which is much different than a school that will cover 100% of need and zero loans so be sure to watch out for the schools on your list that do that, schools that offer merit and schools that offer need-based scholarships.

2) Major National Scholarships | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship

Major national scholarships are really hard to get. One example of one is the Coca Cola Scholarship. About 93,000 people apply and only 150 are selected every year to win the scholarship. However, they offer a lot more money than the next category which is local/regional scholarships.

Major national scholarships can be divided into some subcategories as well | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship:

Merit-only based scholarships – Those are ones like Coca Cola which don’t take into account income or background into evaluating your application.

Need plus merit – which means they’re looking at your family background, your access to resources, as well as your academics and other merits.

Note: Every single scholarship, just about, except for institutional scholarships that are based on need, always take into account merit, on some sort of scale. Of course, they consider other things if you’re looking at one that’s need-based, but they’re going to choose the kids who demonstrate the most need and the most merit.

Demographic-based + merit scholarships: Demographic as in ethnicity, as in intended major, but it’s based on fitting a certain criteria background plus merit as well.


3) Local/Regional Scholarships | What Is The Difference Between A Grant And A Scholarship

Local/regional scholarships are typically smaller sums of money and they come from local organizations such as the Lions Clubs and Elks Clubs, and Kiwanis.

You can view my post about the qualities that colleges look for here.

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