Need-based and merit-based scholarships are awarded to students depending on their financial need and academic brilliance, respectively. The EduZenith article below outlines the difference between the two.
Did You Know?
Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund awards over USD 91 million in need-based scholarships to family members and rescue workers since September 11, 2001. And a staggering USD 11 million in post-secondary scholarships have been awarded to 770 students in the academic year 2012-2013.
Scholarships are awarded to deserving candidates in various fields by the federal government, state governments, private organizations, fee waivers, etc. These are broadly categorized based on certain criteria. Two of the most important categories are based on need and merit. The former relates to monetary requirement, while the latter relates to educational and other relevant factors. The following paragraphs will give you an idea about the subtle differences between need-based and merit-based scholarships.
- As the name indicates, it is offered to students based on their financial situation.
- In other words, this need-based financial aid is a program for those students who wish to study, but are unable to do so due to lack of funds.
- ‘Need’ is the keyword here, a student may or may not be academically bright, but if he/she wishes to continue his studies, he will be sponsored.
- Need-based grants are offered by different government agencies and other organizations.
- These are offered to students based on their academic performance and other qualifications.
- This scholarship is granted to students who have excellent grades or credits and an excellent academic record.
- ‘Merit’ is the keyword here, irrespective of a student’s financial situation, he/she will be sponsored on the basis of merit.
- These are mostly paid directly by the educational institution that the student attends.
- According to the National Post-Secondary Survey (NPSAS), your need-based financial aid depends heavily on your SAT scores. If your family earns less and your SAT scores are high enough, you will receive a larger grant and vice-versa. Lower the score, lesser the aid.
- Some grants require you to fulfill the ‘bond’ requirement. This means that you will need to work for that particular organization for a stipulated period after your course is over, or you will need to repay the money. This happens mostly in nursing scholarships.
- That said, out of both these grants, some will require you to repay, while some will require repayment along with interest.
- If you re being sponsored for your merit, it is not mandatory to accept all the financial aid. It is more of an achievement than a dire need.
- You cannot decide which of the two grants is better than the other, both have their pros and cons and means of adjustment depending on the situation.
To be awarded a scholarship is a prestigious achievement in itself, irrespective of whether the criteria is need or credit. The underlying fact is, you are one of the fortunate few to receive an opportunity to get an education so that you can achieve something in life. Therefore, the source of obtaining the grant does not matter, what matters is you can forgo the stress and anxiety of paying your fees on time and concentrate on your studies instead, for this is what will take you to greater heights in the future. And keep in mind that just because you haven’t been awarded a fee waiver does not mean you are not bright or any less qualified than the others. You just need to trust your instincts and your capability, and nothing can stop success from coming to you. All the Best!!