What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship? The primary difference between grants and scholarships is that grants are usually need based. In contrast, scholarships are often merit based. Both grants and scholarships provide money to students which may not need to be paid back. According to Grants.gov, a grant is “a grant that comes from the government.” Pell Grants are one example of a grant. Pell Grants may provide funds to low-income undergraduate students. Students may use these funds to pay for their tuition costs. According to Federal Student Aid, to be eligible for a federal grant, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarships are a bit different. They are also a type of financial aid. Non profit organizations or corporations are the types of entities that typically issue them. Sometimes individuals provide these funds to students. Many times, students need to complete an essay or meet other qualifications to obtain the scholarship. Students who plan to go to college may need to apply for both grants and scholarships. These funds may help pay for some educational needs. They may not pay for all of the costs a student has. However, they may be able to apply for student loans. Those loans may cover other costs. Grant vs scholarship eligibility requirements The eligibility criteria for grants and scholarships may vary significantly. Here is a look at the differences students should know. Who is eligible for a Pell Grant? As noted already, to qualify for a Pell Grant, students may need to complete the FAFSA. This is a document provided by the U.S. Department of Education. It gathers a student’s financial information. The FAFSA also determines if they are eligible for student loans as well as grants. Students may need to provide a significant amount of personal information. This includes information about their income and their parent’s income. To be eligible for this grant, students may also need to show that they: Are undergraduates or postbaccalaureate studentsHave a high school diplomaAre enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible schoolDemonstrate financial needAre U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens Federal and state grants are a type of aid that typically do not have to be repaid by the student. State grants have the same type of qualifications. It is important to know that some colleges also offer grants. These may be for specific programs in the school. In this case, the student may be eligible if he or she meets the requirements set by the school. The requirements may vary greatly. Examples could include athletics, educational qualifications or academics. Scholarship eligibility There are many different types of scholarships, and each one has its own set of qualifications that you must meet in order to apply. Often, these are published and may be easy to find. These qualifications may be: Merit basedBased on their course of study, or careerBased on financial needIt may be based on an essay questionBased on a group of people such as veterans, women, or a specific ethnicityReligious affiliationsMembership to a union, organization or national programs such as American Legion or Future Farmers of America To qualify for scholarships, the student may need to provide an application with: School transcriptsLetters of recommendationEssayOther specific required information Grant vs scholarship – Where to find them Grants come from federal government programs. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) provide the funding for these programs. They may be available to students who demonstrate financial need. Other grant programs be available as a part of the work they do. This includes Afghanistan Service Grants. Another type of grant is given to a student who participated in military service in Iraq or other locations, according to Federal Student Aid. There are also state grants and other local grants. Some grants come from organizations that need more employees in them. For example, a TEACH Grant or The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education is an example, as noted by Federal Student Aid. This program helps to provide people who wish to become a teacher to pursue an education in it. The goal of a TEACH Grant is to help fill in gaps in education. Any organization has the ability to create a scholarship. You can find these scholarships by researching groups or organizations one by one. You could use a scholarship search platform such as Unigo, or talk to your guidance counselor about the best source to find scholarships. Another great resource is your local city and state websites. What is the difference between applying for a scholarship and grant? Applying for grants vs scholarships is also different. As noted, there are various ways to apply and submit information for aid, all of which start with the FAFSA. Students applying for other types of grants may need to complete specific applications for them. This depends on the organization offering them. Read through the terms required for the grant. Follow them exactly to qualify. Applying for scholarships is done separately. Some colleges use FAFSA to make scholarship decisions. However, for private organization scholarships, the process may be far more complex. Students need to first find out which scholarships are available to them. They then need to reach out to those organizations to request information about the scholarships. Then, they must complete the required information. This may include essays. It may also include providing personal information. Often, letters of recommendation are required. Students may also need to meet GPA and ACT and SAT test score requirements. The key is to submit all information requested to the organization offering the scholarship. To sum it all up, the main difference between grants and scholarships is that grants are usually needs-based, while scholarships can be either needs-based or merit-based. Grants are typically provided by government agencies, while scholarships may be offered by the government, private organizations, or individual colleges and universities. Both types of financial aid are important in helping students pay for college, and students should explore all options for financial aid to ensure they can afford to attend the school of their choice.