Difference Between Scholarships and Grants

Key Difference – Scholarships vs Grants


There is a clear difference between scholarships and grants though both are good ways to finance your education through college as they provide free money to pay your tuition fees and other related expenses. First let us define the two words. Scholarships are given to students in the form of money to support their education. Grants are also money that are provided for various purposes.  Both are similar in the sense that they provide a student with free money that does not need to be repaid as is the case with student loans. This is why experts say that a student must exhaust all sources of free funds before applying for loans. One of the key differences between a scholarship and grant is that while scholarships are mostly given to individuals, grants are given to institutionally based projects. Through this article let us examine other differences that can be discerned between the two words.

What are Scholarships?

Scholarships come mostly from educational institutions. However, they are also provided by employers, companies, and other organizations. These scholarships have a number of eligibility criterions such as gender, race, financial status, special skills and so on.

A student who applies for a scholarship for higher education, or for a special degree can pursue his studies free of charge because the institution pays for the education of the student. When speaking of scholarships, while some can come in the form of full scholarships where the student does not have to pay for anything at all, there are other types of scholarships as well. These scholarships are only part scholarships. In such a situation, the student also has to make a financial contribution to complete the education.  Now let us move on to the word grant in order to comprehend the difference.

Scholarships vs Grants

What are Grants?

Grants are a source of money from the government and other private foundations that are nonprofit. Popular types of grants are need based and merit based. Need-based grants go to students who are financially weak and need help to continue with their studies. Merit based grants take into account talent of the individual along with financial need.

Grants are available for a number of purposes such as starting a business, community service, for NGO’s, employment and training programs, environmental issues, legal services, sports, arts and culture, and for studies in the fields of agriculture and sciences. Grants are always for a specific purpose, and they cannot be utilized to further one’s requirements such as buying a house or a car. Grants have been designed to assist people who want to do something worthwhile for the community and society at large whether it is in the field of medical research or development of a product or service that might be useful for the society. Educational Grants are normally for developing colleges and training centers that would be beneficial for a large number of students in a particular area.

Scholarships vs Grants

What is the Difference Between Scholarships and Grants?

Definitions of Scholarships and Grants:

Scholarships: Scholarships are given to students in the form of money to support their education.

Grants: Grants are also money that are provided for various purposes.

Characteristics of Scholarships and Grants:


Scholarships: Scholarships are available to individual students.

Grants: Grants are for initiatives that are beneficial for the community at large.

Educational grants:

Scholarships: Some of the grants for individual students such as TEACH, SMART, etc. are in reality scholarships.

Grants: Educational grants are given to institutions rather than individual students




Image Courtesy:

1. “Monash Certificate” by General Sir John Monash Foundation [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikipedia

2. “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visitor center” by Adbar – Own work. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons