Get the inside track on scholarships
Scholarships are financial aid or access awards presented to students who need help meeting tuition costs or other education-related expenses, or who have earned a financial reward through exceptional academic achievement or performance. Some scholarships and grants are applied automatically towards your tuition fees, while you are free to spend others on education-related expenses as you see fit.
Classifications of Scholarships
Broadly speaking, there are four different types of scholarships: merit-based, need-based, student-based and career-specific academic scholarships.
Merit-based scholarships are earned through exceptional performance, as defined by preexisting criteria. These scholarships can be offered by the government, the educational institution or private sources. The PSAT test is a good example of a standard for merit-based scholarships — students scoring in the 99th percentile become semifinalists for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.
Need-based scholarships are free college scholarships awarded to students who display strong academic potential yet lack the financial means to realize it. For example, many study abroad scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need.
Student-based scholarships are awarded to students of a particular gender, race or type. For example, there are scholarships for women in non-traditional programs (such as engineering programs, which are traditionally dominated by males). Minority scholarships also fall into this category.