Scholarships and grants are the most lucrative means to pay for college. With scholarships and grants you’re not usually required to repay the money once you’ve graduated, although some conditions do apply to the use of the funds. In some cases, your scholarship or grant might even include spending money every month or not have any strings attached on how you spend the funds. This makes grants and scholarships a great way to pay for school – especially if you’re certain of what you want to do after graduation.
The Basics of a Scholarship
Scholarships are a bit like the holy grail of college funding. You have to quest almost endlessly for the money, but once you receive it, it’s yours to keep (so long as you don’t do something that would have it revoked). The process for a scholarship differs by the type of scholarship you’re seeking, but in most cases you can expect a strenuous application process complete with essays and perhaps even portfolios of work up to this point. There are intrusive questions about your background and grades and if you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll be granted an interview where you can then sweat it out with many others to see if you’re one of the lucky ones.
If you’re awarded a scholarship, that money might be mailed to you as a check or it may be released directly to the university you’re attending to be applied to your tuition, room and board. Depending on the amount of the scholarship, it might also have conditions you’ll need to continue to meet in order to keep the money coming in. These usually include studying on a full-time basis and making a certain grade point average. You might also be required to study in a particular field. While limiting at times, you can think of the scholarship as an investment in your potential. Your investors want to see your potential coming through.
The Basics of a Grant
Of scholarships and grants, grants are the trickier of the two. The application process for a grant might be just as complicated as the scholarship, although not necessarily. The grant, once it is awarded, will usually be paid directly to you, but it might go to the university as well, especially if it’s a government grant. The grant will pay for your schooling and extras as well depending, of course, on the amount of the grant, but then you’ll need to repay the money after you graduate. How you pay back a grant varies a bit, but it generally falls into two categories – either your repay the money by working in a particular field, or you choose not to work in that field and risk having to repay the grant on an installment plan.
Choosing Scholarships and Grants
When applying for scholarships and grants, consider your options carefully and apply deep instead of wide. This means opt for the full range of scholarships and grants in a field you’re interested in rather than a bit of everything from a variety of subjects. You don’t want to go through the trouble of getting a scholarships and grants only to lose the money by breaking your contract while in school or after graduation.