Scholarships: A Brief Overview

Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to provide financial assistance to students pursuing higher education. Scholarships are granted to students for various reasons and often mirror the morals and goals of organizations and individuals sponsoring scholarships.

The following are common scholarships awarded to students:

  • Merit-based: These scholarships are granted to students excelling in sports, academics, or extra-curricular activities. Students participating in service projects and community service often receive merit-based scholarships. Schools and private organizations often award scholarships to students with excellent SAT and ACT scores.

  • Need-based: These scholarships are provided to students with parents unable to fund their children's education, or students personally without the means to pay for their higher education. Before students receive these scholarships, they must complete a FAFSA or other forms detailing their finances.

  • Student-specific: These scholarships are offered to students of specific genders, religions, ethnic backgrounds, medical histories, and other criteria. They are often referred to as minority scholarships and are awarded to students in the United States and Canada.

  • Career-specific: These scholarships are usually sponsored by schools and offered to students enrolled in a specific major program or pursuing a specific career. These scholarships are usually offered to students training to be professionals in high demand, such as nurses or teachers. Because of the increasing need for nurses, many educational institutions provide full-ride scholarships to nursing students.

Certain scholarships contain "bond" requirements. Students awarded these scholarships are often required to commit to work for a certain company for a designated timeframe. In some cases, students receiving these scholarships are required to commit to work in a specific region, often rural areas, for a specified timeframe. Graduates not abiding by their agreements can be held liable to repay their scholarship awards.

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