Saturday, January 12, 2008

Grants, Fellowships, and Scholarships Explained

Grants, fellowships, and scholarships have a lot in common: primarily that they will all help you get money for school. Sometimes, there really is no difference at all, but others, there are subtle characteristics that are important to note. This list is a guide, and by no means explains every unique funding program that uses these terms.

  • Grants are sums of money donated to accomplish a project or a goal. Many times, grants will be used to fund research addressing a particular social or economic problem, or to build a facility or other community infrastructure. In terms of college financial aid, grants are usually government assistance payments or designed to further the cause of a specific academic subject or political movement by assisting like-minded intellectuals with their tuition or fees.
  • Fellowships are like grants in that they are helpful in advancing particular causes. The major difference is that a fellowship requires the recipient, or "fellow," to also represent the group that is providing the funding. Fellows might become mentors, or publish their research in the group's academic journals. If undertaking a fellowship, it is important to realize the public relations obligations that go along with it.
  • Scholarships are usually more generalized. They might have few eligibility requirements, or they might be looking for a very specific individual profile. Either way, scholarship recipients tend to have fewer long-term obligations to the sponsoring organization (By all means, you should pursue the opportunity to network with charitable organizations, but at the very least, send a thank you letter!) The main responsibility of a scholarship winner is to study, get good grades, and graduate.

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