Difference Between Grant and Scholarship

Main Difference – Grant vs Scholarship

Although the two terms grant and scholarship are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same. Grant merely refers to financial aid. In the academic field, grants are given to students on the basis of their financial needs. However, scholarships are not usually based on need; they are based on a student’s achievements, abilities, or some special ethnic or other characteristics. This discrepancy in the basis is the main difference between grant and scholarship. It is also important to note that both grants and scholarships are not expected to be paid back; however, both usually require some standard such as maintain a certain GPA in order to continue funding.

This article examines,

1. What is a Grant? – Meaning, Criteria and Terms

2. What is a Scholarship? – Meaning, Criteria and Terms

3. What is the difference between Grant and Scholarship?
Difference Between Grant and Scholarship - Grant vs Scholarship Comparison Summary

What is a Grant

The term grant refers to non-repayable funds given to a particular purpose. Funds are often granted by a government, corporation, foundation or trust; the recipients are often non-profit organizations, educational institute or individual. In the field of academics, grants refer to funds given to an individual student to further his or her education.

This type of grant is usually based on need, not merit or any other factor. This means that the granted is awarded based on a student’s or his family’s financial situation. A grant can be awarded by the government, or other organization. They can be awarded to students pursuing their undergraduate degree or graduate degree. Some examples of grants in the USA include Pell grant, SEOG, ACG and national SMART grant.

Difference Between Grant and Scholarship

What is a Scholarship

A scholarship is a financial aid granted to a student in order to advance their education. It does not have to be repaid and, may be based on various factors. Merit, need, career and student specifics, and special ethnic and other characteristics

Merit-based scholarships are based on a student’s academic achievements athletic or artistic abilities or other extra-curricular activities. Need-based scholarships consider the economic background of the student and are granted to those who are in need of financial aid. Some scholarships also consider different factors such as gender, race, nationality, religion, etc. Minority scholarship is an example of this category. Some universities also grant scholarships to the students who plan to pursue a specific field. This type of career-based scholarships is usually granted to students who wish to careers in high-need areas such as nursing.Main Difference - Grant vs Scholarship

Difference Between Grant and Scholarship


Grant refers to funds given for a specific purpose.

Scholarship refers to financial aid awarded to a student,  for the purpose of education.


Grants are based on need.

Scholarships may be based on merit, need or other factors.

Influencing Factors

Grants consider the financial situation of the student and his family.

Scholarships usually consider the achievements, talents, and abilities of the student.

Graduate vs Undergraduate

Grants are awarded to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Scholarships are usually awarded to undergraduate students.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.