When looking for college funding, a prospective student may see opportunities for both grants and scholarships. That same student may also be wondering, what is the difference, and why does it matter to me?
A grant is funding typically given by a non-profit organization, usually for a specific project, or because the recipient met certain criteria. A grant may be given for any purpose, not necessarily for education.
Scholarships are specifically for students to pay for education. They usually have requirements for the student before and after they've been awarded the scholarship. Typical requirements including maintaining a specific GPA, or take a specific number of credit hours.
When you receive a grant for a project, you may be required to provide ongoing reports to the funding organization about your project. In some cases, grant and scholarship funds are released according to a schedule, and funds may be withheld if the reporting or minimum criteria are not met.
Neither grants nor scholarships require you to repay the funding organization. Only loans require repayment.
Scholarships and grants are not just based on financial need. They are sometimes awarded for specific majors, activities, abilities, affiliations, or interests.