What is Scholarship? | How to get a scholarship

Education Scholarship

A scholarship is financial support awarded to a student, based on academic achievement or other criteria that may include financial need, for the purpose of schooling. A scholarship (or a grant or a fellowship) is a sum of money awarded to a student in order to help him or her further his or her education. Instead of a loan, which accrues interest, or need-based financial aid, which is usually doled out by universities, scholarships are gifts that don’t need to be paid back. Most organizations that offer them consider them an investment rather than a gift.

There are scholarships provided by governments, corporations, universities or any organization with a little goodwill and some money to burn. Many famous scholarships come from stipulations in the wills of philanthropists. However, though a scholarship isn’t a loan, it’s not just free money either. Most organizations that offer them consider them an investment rather than a gift. For that reason, scholarships usually have strings attached. Athletic scholarships come with the expectation of maintaining a certain grade point average as well as performing on the field. Scholarships may also be contingent on entering a certain career, such as medicine or library science.

WHO CAN GET A SCHOLARSHIP?:

Scholarships provide much needed financial aid, as well as a certain degree of prestige, for the student. The right scholarship can set a college-bound student on the road to success.It is a common misconception that scholarships are only available to students with the highest GPA or the most impressive sports record. Little do people know that scholarships are available for all kinds of students. There are different types of scholarship each with its own eligibility and criteria. For example, one needs to have an outstanding educational background to apply for academic scholarship. Likewise, possessing a great aptitude and talent in athletics helps in securing an athletic scholarship. 

TYPES OF SCHOLARSHIP:

The various kinds of scholarship are as follows-

  • Academic ScholarshipAcademic Scholarship is one of the most high profile merit scholarships awarded to students who show an outstanding history of academic achievement. These scholarships are awarded to students with the most exceptional GPA. Also to most impressive series of extracurricular activities and a history of public service. There are two reasons for providing merit-based scholarships. The first is that the talented people don’t necessarily come from socioeconomic backgrounds that can afford the best education. Secondly, merit-based scholarships offer an opportunity for truly talented minds to blossom. Academic Scholarships typically have substantial financial payouts, and confer a certain level of prestige on the recipient. Many schools offer them as part of the admissions process. Many of them pay full tuition, college fees, and a stipend to help with other expenses. They can also be beneficial after college as an introduction into the business world.
  • Athletic Scholarship-  Athletic Scholarship is one of the most highly visible, and fiercely competitive scholarships available. Students hoping for an athletic scholarship have to demonstrate a high level of ability in their sport of choice. As well as a solid academic background. Athletic scholarships are awarded based on the student’s athletic abilities and how they can contribute to the team. College recruiters are always looking for the best athletes to bring to their campus, but competition is high. The time to start thinking about an athletic scholarship is in your high school. A coach decides who receives scholarships and how much they are awarded. There are scholarships for nearly every sport; from volleyball to golf, tennis to football, swimming to gymnastics. For the right student, a merit scholarship can open the door to the college of his choice. 
  • Scholarship for Minorities- A lot of meritorious and academically brilliant students miss out on education due to financial constraints. This further leads to unequal employment opportunities for such students. Scholarships are awarded to minority students to accomplish and fulfill their dreams to avoid discrimination. Different kinds of minority scholarships provided to the students. These scholarships can be general or specific in their ethnic requirements. With some being open to all minority students while others are designed to benefit one ethnic group in particular. Various sources fund these scholarships ranging form the Federal government to universities and corporations.There are also a large number of minority scholarships sponsored by individuals and associations aimed at diversifying certain areas of the professional workforce. These scholarships may be directed towards students with particular interests such as engineering, medicine or mathematics. 

  • Scholarship for Women- Currently there are more women than men attending college and opportunities abound for women across many schools and majors. The main purpose of this type of scholarship is to encourage women to not only attend college but also to succeed thereafter. Many scholarships for women have been created in an effort to advance the opportunities for female students across the country . Scholarship opportunities encourage women excelling as undergraduate students to consider graduate work, professorships, and other highly-skilled positions. These scholarships do more than just provide financial aid for college, they can also provide a pathway into the worlds of business, science and politics.
  • Scholarship for Creative Students– Arts has become a part of modern life nowadays. Plenty of creative scholarship opportunities available for the artistically inclined student. Artists and art students face the same financial burdens as any other college-bound student, but creative scholarships can help alleviate some of that burden and can make a college education much more accessible.These scholarships are highly competitive, and applying students have to present samples of their artwork to be considered. Portfolios are submitted for Art scholarships, while for music scholarships and other performance based art forms an audition by tape or in person is needed.Many of these scholarships are sponsored by art colleges themselves, while others are funded by both public and private endowments.

  • Community Services Scholarship-  Many universities and organizations value individuals who they think will make a difference in the world, and offering scholarships to students who have dedicated their time to improving the lives of others is one way that they can contribute to those changes.Community Service Scholarships are a wonderful reward for those students who love to give back to their communities.These scholarships may have awards in smaller amounts, but everything counts when finding the money to go to college.Some of the scholarships offered will help fund tuition costs, while others will help you pay for charitable projects that you want to organize, or give you the opportunity to do more volunteer work.

HOW TO APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP:

Education nowadays is a costly affair which is out of the financial means for many, especially for the most deserving ones. In this case, scholarships are a huge gift to the people. Applying for a scholarship is the first step along your journey to financial aid for college. When you consider the diversity of the scholarships that are available each year, and the competition that exists for them all, you will realize just how important it is to get the application process right. The following steps will help you maximize the potential of all of your scholarship applications:

  • Prepare in advance– If you know you’ll need a scholarship to help you to attend university, it’s important to start preparing as far in advance as possible. This is especially important if you need to attend an interview. Some universities conduct special interviews and invite students on campus to interview with a faculty member, answering questions on their goals and motivations and how this fits in with that university and course.
  • Motivation and hard work- Most of the scholarships are provided to highly-achieving students. This encourages the students to remain focused and work hard. In some cases, universities may automatically consider applicants for full scholarships using your regular university application, making high grades crucial. While pushing yourself academically can be mentally exhausting, try to stay motivated by keeping your goals in mind, and give yourself a break every now to relax. 
  • Standing out from other applicants- Not everyone gets a scholarship, no matter how brilliant the student is. 1 out of 50 people are awarded a scholarship. With so much competition to get a full scholarship, it’s crucial to stand out from the pool of applicants by demonstrating real commitment to bettering yourself as an individual. Leadership skills are also highly valued by scholarship providers, and you can demonstrate this by volunteering to lead projects in your extracurricular activities or community work.Another thing that could really make you stand out from the rest when it comes to scholarship applications is a glowing report on your academic and personal qualities through your letters of recommendation, so it’s important to build strong relationships with your academic mentors – if a mentor knows you well, they’ll be able to provide a more personal and accurate reflection of you in their letter.  
  • Reading the application process thoroughly– Though it may sound very obvious, yet many applications are rejected because of the incompletion of the applications. You may not want to drop your chances by accidentally missing out a document or piece of information that was stipulated in the scholarship’s application instructions. Be sure to read the application guidance carefully and repeatedly, so you’re less likely to miss anything, and email the provider if you need clarification on anything. 

TYPES OF SCHOLARSHIP IN INDIA:
Government scholarship- Government scholarships include ones offered by the central and state government and other bodies under the government such as UGC and AICTE. The table below highlights a list of scholarships.

Central GovtAICTEUGCState Govt
ISHAN UDAY – Special Scholarship Scheme For North Eastern RegionPragati scholarship Scheme for girls (degree) for Technical educationPG Indira Gandhi Scholarship for Single Girl ChildTripuraPre-matric ST scholarship schemes
Pre Matric Scholarships Scheme for MinoritiesPragati scholarship Scheme for girls (diploma) for Technical educationPG Scholarship University Rank HoldersKarnatakaPost matric scholarship (PMS) for ST students
Post Matric Scholarships Scheme for MinoritiesSaksham scholarship scheme for differently-abled students (degree) for Technical educationFree education for sports medal winnersMeghalaya Umbrella scheme for education of ST children – pre-matric scholarship (class IX & X) for ST students
Merit Cum Means Scholarship For Professional and Technical Courses CSSaksham scholarship scheme for differently-abled students (diploma) for Technical educationPG scholarship for SC/ST Students for Pursuing Professional coursesArunachal PradeshPost Matric Scholarship(PMS) for ST Students 
  • Scholarship offered by Private Universities- There are many other colleges in India which grant university scholarships to students. The scholarship details are:
  1. Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT)– Support the Advancement of Rural Students (STARS) programme. Awarded to 62 topper students from the 62 districts of Tamil Nadu. The scholarship covers all student expenses including accommodation.
  2. Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences- Admission is based on the BITSAT Score where a minimum score of 200 is necessary to get a scholarship.
  1. Amity University (Noida campus)- Admission based on marks in the board examination. Scholarship awarded to top 20 students from each course. It also involves full fee waiver including accommodation or transportation.
  2. Lovely Professional University (LPU)– Selection based on scores secured in LPU-NEST. A minimum Rs. 30000 scholarship is granted. 
  • Scholarship offered by NGOs- Besides government measures and private college initiatives, scholarships are also entailed under programmes run by private organizations. These scholarships are also awarded on the basis of performance in certain given examinations. 
  1. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited Scholarship- One of India’s most valuable companies, ONGC is a public sector undertaking by the government of India. ONGC has autonomy over its operations. ONGC offers merit based scholarships to SC and ST students residing in the country. 
  2. Indian Oil Educational Scholarship- One of ‘nine gems’ amongst Indian PSUs, Indian Oil offers nearly 2500 scholarships every year to students pursuing a wide range of courses. 49.5% scholarships are reserved for SC, ST and OBCs. Additionally, the family income of students applying for the scholarship should not exceed Rs. 1,00,000.
  • International ScholarshipScholarships offered by foreign universities and organizations come under this category. Foreign universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford have a number of scholarship programmes to aid students financially for a wide range of courses. 
  1. The Fulbright Nehru fellowships were instituted to facilitate Indian students to come for higher studies to the United States. The fellowship only covers Masters Degrees and not undergraduate or PhD programs. The fellowship covers all expenses, from travel and accommodation to tuition fees as well. 
  2. The British Council awards scholarships to students taking the IELTS exam in India through this programme. Primarily for students looking to pursue higher education in the UK, this programme only recently awarded scholarships worth £1m to 370 students in India. 
  3. One of the world’s most popular scholarship programmes, the Rhodes scholarship initiative is the most prestigious financial aid projects in the world. The Rhodes scholarship essentially covers all expenses for students interested in studying at Oxford University.

BENEFITS OF SCHOLARSHIP:

  • Reduced cost of education- With the explosion of expensive private colleges in India, education has slowly become a very bankable business. This has made most middle-class Indians wary of the rising cost of education. Many students today are choosing colleges based upon the scholarship programmes provided by the institution. 
  • Less Burden-Another fee installment coming up burdens the students. Scholarships eliminate this problem and make things much simpler for students. A scholarship alleviates this stress from students and allows them to study in a peaceful environment. The time to worry about money problems lasts a whole lifetime.
  • Viable option to bank loans- Education loans interest rates stand at 9.15% p.a. 

WHY IS SCHOLARSHIP NEEDED?

While the government always encourages banks to approve educational loans despite absence of collateral at times, it doesn’t help much when it comes to returning the amount back. The high interest rate on educational loans is a big reason why scholarships in India have become so coveted.At such a low salary, it is nearly impossible for students to return the loan and increase their own living standards.

Thus scholarships have become a necessity in the current educational setup of India. Until the government can come up with a solution to cap the inflation of private college fees, students will have to depend on scholarship programmes for financial assistance.

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