Scholarships are monetary stipends that are awarded to students. The money is intended to finance education-related expenses such as tuition, books and rent. The eligibility of students is based on various different factors which include a demonstration of financial need or academic performance. Scholarships differ from student loans because they typically do not need to be repaid by the student.


Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated strong abilities. Although the money is used for academic expenses, the abilities demonstrated by the student do not need to be related to academic studies. For example, many students are awarded merit-based scholarships due to strong athletic performance or a high level of community involvement. However, many merit-based scholarships are also awarded to students who maintain a high level of academic performance, or achieve high scores in standardized tests. Most scholarships that are merit-based are paid directly to the institution that the student is attending. The scholarships are often awarded by private institutions. However, it is not uncommon for the institution that the student attends to award the scholarship as well. Merit-based scholarships differ from many other types of scholarships because a student’s financial need is not usually taken into account when awarding the scholarship. This means that merit-based scholarships can be the hardest to get from the student’s point of view.


Need-based scholarships are more common than merit-based scholarships. Students can qualify for a need-based scholarship by demonstrating financial need while they are attending the educational institution. These scholarships are rarely based on academic performance. However, much like the scholarships that are based on merit, the student is not responsible to repay the awarded amount. When applying for a need-based scholarship, the student will need to disclose the full amount of their academic expenses, as well as any type of income that they earn while they are studying at the institution. In some cases, the student will also be required to disclose any assets that they own such as stocks and bonds or vehicles. In many cases, need-based scholarships will be targeted towards a specific type of student. For example, there are many need-based scholarships that are awarded to students who are in a specific faculty. Some need-based scholarships are also targeted towards adult students or students who are from a foreign country.


Career-specific scholarships are generally granted to students who are in a specific faculty. For example, career-specific scholarships may be awarded by environmental organizations to students who are studying environmental sciences. These scholarships are usually meant to act as an incentive for students to not only enter the field of study, but also to excel in their studies of the subject matter. This is beneficial to the student who receives the scholarship and does not need to repay it. It is also beneficial to the issuing institution because it contributes to the high quality of graduates who enter the specific field after they graduate. It is for this very reason that career-specific scholarships are mostly offered by private institutions and businesses rather than the actual educational institution. Scholarships are usually listed on the website of the institution that the student is attending. However, because many career-specific scholarships are offered by private businesses, the student may also need to perform an external search on different company websites.

Key Points

Scholarships are financial awards granted to students. Although the eligibility criteria for each scholarship differs, the most common types include scholarships that are based on academic or athletic performance or scholarships that are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need while studying at the institution. However, career specific scholarships are also common and are awarded to students who achieve high grades in a specific field of study.