The word “scholarship” seems to mean many things to many people. Here, though, we are going to content ourselves with the basic definition and just what that means.
Let’s begin with the dictionary definition. A scholarship is “a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies.” While that is an accurate and complete explanation there are many different types of scholarships available. These are:
Generally speaking, these awards are determined by the student’s individual academic, athletic, artistic, or other demonstrated capabilities. Most frequently, these merit based scholarships are bestowed by either a private organization or by the college a student attends to recognize prior academic excellence or achieving specific scores on a standardized test.
Scholarships determined by financial hardship and need very often require the student to apply by first completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This comprehensive from seeks to determine a student’s financial requirements by applying a mathematical formula that includes the family’s expected contribution based on income as well as the cost of attendance to the specific college.
Many private organizations that award need based scholarships will use the FAFSA form to help determine the amount of their scholarship awards.
These are most often based on minority status of the student but other initial qualifications can be based on gender, medical history, race, or religion. Such scholarships need not be based in the United States. There are a number of foreign scholarships available to a variety of specific persons.
Most often awarded by a University or college to students who plan on pursuing a particular field of study and have achieved more than minimum grade requirement. These scholarships are most often available in perceived high need fields of study of value to a community. Examples are basic education and nursing. Frequently, these awards will have a requirement for the student to work in a high need, remote or rural area for a specified period of time after graduation.
Service Academy Scholarships
The entire student populations of the nation’s four service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) are scholarship recipients. Their education costs are born totally by the taxpayer. In return, graduates agree to serve for at least five years.
U.S. Government Scholarships
Many departments of the government offer scholarships that have a “bond” requirement. Much like the service academies and the high need fields of study, the student applying for these scholarships agrees to work in a specific field for a specified period of time after graduation. A few of the departments offering such scholarships are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps which is the uniformed service of the US Public Health Service. (206)