What is a Scholarship? A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based on various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarship money is not required to be repaid.
Scholarships vs. grants
Scholarships may have a financial need component but rely on other criteria as well.
Academic Scholarships typically use a minimum Grade Point Average or standardized test scores such as the ACT or SAT to select awardees. Athletic Scholarships are generally based on the athletic performance of a student and are used as a tool to recruit high-performing athletes for their school’s athletic teams.
Merit Scholarships can be based on a number of criteria, including performance in a particular school subject or even club participation or community service.
Types Of Scholarships
The most common scholarships may be classified as:
Merit-based: These awards are based on a student’s academic, artistic, athletic, or other abilities, and often factor in an applicant’s extracurricular activities and community service record. The most common merit-based scholarships, awarded by either private organizations or directly by a student’s intended college, recognize academic achievement or high scores on standardized tests.
Student-specific: These are scholarships for which applicants must initially qualify based on gender, race, religion, family, medical history, or many other student-specific factors. Minority scholarships are the most common awards in this category. For example, students in Canada may qualify for a number of Aboriginal scholarships, whether they study at home or abroad.
Career-specific: These are scholarships a college or university awards to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study. Many schools in the United States give future nurses full scholarships to enter the field, especially if the student intends to work in a high-need community.
College-specific: Individual colleges and universities provide highly qualified candidates with college-specific scholarships. This is particularly the case with education and nursing scholarships for people prepared to work in rural and remote areas.
The programs offered by the uniformed services of the United States (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration commissioned corps, and Public Health Service Commissioned Corps) sometimes resemble such scholarships.
Athletic: Awarded to students with exceptional skill in a sport. Often, this is so that the student will be available to attend school or college and play the sport on their team, although in some countries, government-funded sports scholarships are available, allowing scholarship holders to train for international representation.
School-based athletic scholarships can be controversial, as some believe that awarding scholarship money for athletic rather than academic or intellectual purposes is not in the institution’s best interest.
Brand Scholarships: These scholarships are sponsored by a brand that is trying to gain attention for their brand, or a cause. Sometimes these scholarships are referred to as branded scholarships. The Miss America beauty pageant is the most famous example of a brand scholarship.