A scholarship is a sum of money awarded to a student to help him or her further his or her education. Scholarships may be awarded as a financial aid, grant or loan but most of them are given as gifts which don’t need to be paid back. Scholarships can be in full or partial. Full scholarships cover all expenses of a student including tuition fees, accommodation expenses, travel expenses if any, insurance cover and some stipend. Partial scholarships on the other (left) hand may cover only tuition fees or both tuition fees and accommodation. Scholarships are different and vary depending on the organisation or institution offering and have different eligibility criteria. They are normally from universities, government, corporations or foundations.
In most cases the eligibility depends on academic merit or achievement, financial need, age, equity factors, community involvement, sporting achievement etc. The amounts and payment arrangements depends on the institution offering and the level of study. Some scholarship payments are paid in semester or yearly installments while others such as post graduate students can be paid as weekly or bi-weekly stipend.Scholarships are however not guaranteed and the providers use a specific process to select the applicants they feel best meets the requirements and those that best represent their mission. Scholarship application process is usually free but could be confusing and and frustrating especially at the beginning. Students can apply for as many scholarships as they are eligible for to boost their chances of success in getting one.
Purposes of Scholarships:
. To increase diversity government, Universities and colleges give scholarships to reflect the demographics of a society as a whole by awarding to students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds.
. CompetitivenessUniversities increase their competitive advantage by awarding scholarships to high scoring students with academic achievement. Elite institutions, for example, charge higher fees to students thus generate higher revenues which enable them to offer huge scholarships.
. Business search government can offer scholarships to students from other countries as a way of looking for business ventures from those countries. Developed countries often use such scholarships to developing countries as a way to search for business opportunities such as infrastructural project contracts.
. Increase literacy some governments offer scholarships to their needy citizens as a way of reducing illiteracy levels. Such citizens from low socioeconomic background usually have difficulties in accessing higher education due to the financial burden. High illiteracy levels in a country lead to high unemployment levels which in turn results to high levels on insecurity.