What is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship?

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Understanding the difference between a grant and a scholarship is complex, but here is the short answer: Scholarships can come from many different sources, are typically merit-based, and are exclusively for higher education expenses. Grants, however, are not solely reserved for tuition, are normally need-based, and often come from the federal government.

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The main differences between scholarships and grants

  1. Where the gift aid is being applied
  2. How someone qualifies for the gift aid
  3. The source of the gift aid

Difference 1: Where the gift aid is being applied

One of the most common differentiators when looking at grants vs scholarships is how the gift aid is applied. Scholarships tend to be more restrictive in that the financial aid received is reserved for college tuition/expenses.

How to use scholarships

Using a scholarship varies based on where your scholarship came from. Some local scholarships may directly provide you with a check while scholarships from your college may automatically go towards your tuition bill. If you win a scholarship on Bold.org, the money will be sent to your school's financial aid office to go towards your education expenses. When a student earns a scholarship on Bold.org while still in high school, their earnings are held in an account until they can be transferred directly to the student's college.

What is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship

How to use a grant

Federal grants can be sent to your school, paid to you directly, or can be split between you and your school depending on your expenses. Grants won on Bold.org will typically be sent directly to your school unless otherwise specified.

If you've won a grant for graduates with loans, such as the Forget Your Student Debt. No-Essay Grant, the money will be sent straight to you to disburse to your lenders.