What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education at a private elementary or secondary school, or a private or public post-secondary college, university, or other academic institution. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, such as academic merit, diversity and inclusion, athletic skill, and financial need, among others (or some combination of these factors).

Scholarship criteria usually reflect the values and goals of the donor or founder of the award. While scholarship recipients are not required to repay scholarships, the awards may require that the recipient continue to meet certain requirements during their period of support, such as maintaining a minimum grade point average or engaging in a certain activity (e.g., playing on a school sports team for athletic scholarship holders, or serving as a teaching assistant for some graduate scholarships). Scholarships may provide a monetary award, an in-kind award (e.g., waiving of tuition fees or fees for housing in a dormitory), or a combination.

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Some prestigious, highly competitive scholarships are well-known even outside the academic community, such as the Fulbright Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship.

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