What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a sum of money awarded to a student as a grant, loan or financial aid to assist him or her further his or her education. Grants are need-based scholarships while financial aid are merit-based scholarships. Unlike grants and financial aid which are gifts from the awarding body and need not be paid back, loans must be paid back in full either with or without interest. The amount and payment arrangements vary with each specific scholarship and can be awarded in installment each semester or yearly.

They can be offered in full or partially. Full scholarships cover tuition fees, travel costs if any, insurance, accommodation and stipend which is paid to the student weekly or bi-weekly while partial scholarship covers only tuition fees or can include a few other expenses.Scholarships are awarded to students based on certain eligibility requirements such as financial need, academic merit or achievement equity factors, sports achievements and community involvement. Other eligibility requirements include age, the level of study among other factors. They are offered by different organizations or institutions to achieve a specific mission. Organisations that offer scholarships include churches, universities, governments, corporations etc. Some scholarships are awarded based on agreements between governments and universities while others are mutual agreements between two governments.

Scholarships are not usually guaranteed to the applicant because the providers use a specific process to select the applicants they feel best meets the eligibility requirements or represents their mission.Types of scholarships can be classified as:. Merit-based These are offered based on a student’s academic, athletic or artistic abilities and achievements. ¬†They are issued to students from poor backgrounds who cannot manage to raise fees for their education.. Student-specific.

College- specific. Career- specific. Brand scholarships. These are offered by companies to advertise and market their brands. Creative contestOffered to students who submit best and unique innovative ideas

Purposes of scholarships1. To enhance diversityScholarships may be offered by institutions to help reflect the demographics of a society by awarding to students from low socioeconomic area.2. To increase competitivenessHigh ranking instittutions generate revenue by charge high fees to students. They then use the revenue to offer scholarship to needy bright students hence helping them become competitive.3.To reduce illiteracy and improve security. Governments offer scholarships to its citizens who have less financial power to reduce illiteracy levels. This helps to reduce unemployment levels in the society hence reducing insecurity.4. BusinessGovernments can offer scholarships to students from other nations to enable them get businesses and contract projects from that government.5. For research. Universities and governments can offer scholarships for specific careers to increase research in certain areas such as medicine or engineering.Other scholarships are offered to students who meet specific requirements such as religion, minority and marginalised communities, race, medical history or physical disability.