Continuing education after high school by attending a college or university is one of the best ways to increase your long-term earning potential, but higher education can be expensive. Educational institutions, governments and private organizations offer grants and scholarships to help students pay for education. Grant and scholarship money does not have to be repaid.
A grant is an award of money designated for a specific purpose that does not need to be paid back to the grant-giver. A grant is, in essence, a free gift meant to enable a person to achieve a worthwhile goal that he may not be able to achieve without the grant. Many students rely on grant money to attend college due to high tuition costs.
While scholarship money does not need to be repaid, scholarships may require the student to adhere to certain stipulations. For instance, some schools offer academic scholarships to students on the condition that the students maintain a certain grade point average. If your grades fall below the level mandated by an academic scholarship, you may lose the scholarship money. Athletic scholarships also may require the student to participate in a certain sport to continue receiving funds.
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Fellowships are a type of grant awarded to students in educational programs beyond college such as master's and doctoral programs, as well as professional programs such as law school. Fellowships typically provide students with a grant and require students to perform various activities related to study such as teaching undergraduate students and conducting research. If fellows fail to adequately fulfill the tasks expected, they may lose the grant money associated with fellowships.
Financial aid in education describes both grant money and loans students receive to help pay for college. Money given to students in the form of loans must always be repaid. Students are sometimes said to be "awarded" financial aid from schools, the government or other institutions, but just because aid is referred to as an "award" it does not necessarily mean that the aid does not need to be paid back. Loans must be paid back even if they are called an award. If you are uncertain whether a certain sum awarded to you for education must be repaid, ask the organization that awarded the money.