College grants and scholarships help students make up the difference between what they can afford to pay and what the college charges in tuition and fees. In an era when parents are increasingly unable to help pay for a university education as their stock portfolios and home equity shrinks, college grants and scholarships can help make up the gap.
[box]A scholarship is generally a merit based award. For instance, the most famous scholarship is probably the athletic scholarship where a student gets a full ride including tuition, room and board in exchange for playing on a school’s sports team. But other scholarships exist as well. Colleges try to put together the best overall class and they use scholarships to entice students to their campus. [/box]
Students with high grades or test scores, significant community service or leadership, or certain artistic skills often are the recipients of institutional scholarships.
Scholarships are also granted by community organizations such as the Rotary Club, businesses, and foundations. While the requirements vary from award to award, they always feature some level of merit.
Sometimes scholarships have a need-based component, but they are usually based in large part on merit.
Grants are also free money. Unlike scholarships, the distinguishing feature of grants is that they are based on need. While there are general qualifications such as a minimum grade point average, grants are awarded to make up the difference between what the college charges and what the student can pay.
Sometimes the university itself steps in and helps the student with a grant. Other times, the state or federal government makes a grant. Perhaps the most famous grant is the Pell Grant which the federal government awards to students coming from the lowest quartile of the economic spectrum. These awards are for up to $4000.
College grants and scholarships are different from other types of aid because there is no work involved and they do not have to be paid back.
Work-study grants, for instance, are contingent on the student working a 10 to 20 hour a week job on campus. Universities prefer to hire students receiving work-study to fill their student assistant positions because the federal government foots much of the bill.
Loans have to be paid back once a student graduates from college. Because they are packaged as part of the overall student aid budget, many students do not realize what a hardship it will be to pay these loans back after they graduate. They leave college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans that must be paid back on an entry level salary.
That’s why it is best to go to a school where the college grants and scholarships make up the bulk of the award package.
You can find out more about College Grants and Scholarships at http://www.TopScholarshipBlog.com
There, Stacy Fox blogs about trends in scholarships, specific scholarship opportunities, financial aid programs, and more. She has a specific affinity for unusual scholarships when they pop up.
You really need to check out her blog if you are at all concerned about college grants and scholarships.
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