What is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship?
For a student desiring to go to college, financial aid is a big factor in the decision process. Academics, sports, and financial need all factor into the application process for many financial aid opportunities. Wading through your financial options can be overwhelming because there are a wide variety of sources, and they all have different requirements and deadlines.
As you sift through your options, you’ll frequently find the words “grant” and “scholarship.” But what is a college grant exactly? What is a merit scholarship? And what is the difference between a grant and a scholarship? We’ll break it down for you simply, so that as you jump back into your financial aid search, you’ll have the knowledge you need to navigate your way through college admissions with ease.
What is a College Grant?
A grant is need-based aid offered by the military, the government, colleges and universities, employers, and the Pell Grant Program. Unlike a loan, this money does not need to be paid back. Government, military, and the Pell Grant can all be qualified for by filling out the FAFSA each year. Colleges and universities offer grants as a financial aid package once a student has been accepted to the school. Through grants alone, students around the world receive millions of dollars each year towards their education that they do not have to pay back.
Here is a list of grant programs to help you get started:
What is a Merit Scholarship?
A merit scholarship depends on the student’s GPA, test scores, extra-curricular activities, and future career goals. Private organizations that offer these scholarships often have an application, essay, and interview process to review all the applicants. Often, students who receive private scholarships are presented with their awards at a formal ceremony hosted by the authorizing organization.
Colleges and universities also offer merit-based aid, which typically depend on the student’s GPA, test scores, and other factors that are of importance to the institution. For example, Christian colleges and universities often provide scholarships for those students who are church members within the school’s denomination.
Here is a list of merit scholarships to help you get started:
- Coca-Cola Scholars Program
- College JumpStart
- Equitable Excellence Scholarship
- National Merit Scholarship
What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship at Grace College?
Here at Grace, we offer several grants that can help you on your way to a college education. For instance, you will receive $500 per year when you put Grace on your FAFSA form through our FAFSA Grant. We also have a Church Matching Grant Program where church gifts of up to $1,000 to your college education are matched by the college.
And as for merit scholarships…we’ve got plenty! Through our Presidential Scholarship Days, students have the chance to participate in interviews with our faculty members to compete for a wide range of merit scholarships, including two full-tuition awards. All participants must meet two of the three criteria:
- 3.75 GPA or higher
- Top 20% class rank
- 1230 SAT or 26 ACT
Not to mention, we have a whole list of merit scholarships for those who do not qualify for PSD!
Next time you hear the question, “What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?” you’ll be the first to know the answer! Both are incredible resources to tap into as you look for college financial aid.