A scholarship is a financial subsidy as well as a token of appreciation granted to students for uninterrupted completion of their higher studies. Though scholarship is primary a financial aid but has various criteria and bifurcations to ensure that the benefit reaches to the remotest student population. However, there are certain myths that revolve around scholarships- only the best in academics get scholarships, the rest don’t. This is half the truth because scholarships are a privilege awarded to academic, athletic as well as all-round achievers. By all-round achievers, we mean that the awardee is monitored on the basis of social responsibility, overall conduct in the society, awareness about the socio-cultural affairs, participation in activities, etc.
ACT or SAT scores or minimum Grade Point Average are considered for selecting the awardees for academic scholarships.
For merit scholarships, excellence in a particular subject or participation in a school club or community service is considered amongst other parameters.
For athletic scholarships, the on-field performance of the student is taken into consideration.
Scholarships can be viewed in 2 ways-
- As a means of encouragement for the meritorious achievers (merit-based)
- As a means of providing financial aid to the underprivileged students (need-based)
Merit-based scholarships are rewards given voluntarily to encourage and acknowledge the hard work of students. The awardees, by displaying transcendent performance, bring good name to their families, and schools. The importance of merit-based scholarships is synthesized when a person enrolls in higher education or applies for a job. The numero-uno institutes welcome such students for their extraordinary caliber. These are the academic scholarships and the awardee needs to maintain a good record in academics.
However, the need-based scholarships are initiated to enable the less privileged strata to get education which their financial status does not permit. The government understands the disparity in their country, and acting in public interest, they set release scholarships for the minority, BPL families. The need-based scholarships are initiated with the intention of strengthening the core of the country, i.e., laying emphasis on education, which would escalate the employment opportunities, thus reducing poverty.
There is a stark difference between merit-based and need-based scholarship. While the former is independent of the financial status of the recipient, the latter is solely dependent on the financial status of the recipient.
Also, it is a far-fetched reality that scholarships are bound for high school students aspiring for admissions to higher universities. It is not the case, students from middle school can also apply for scholarships as the government and the private entities have provisions for this section of the school as well. For synthesizing the benefits of a scholarship, the middle school should prepare with diligence. It has been observed that the benefit for middle school student is immense- their higher school education is sponsored, their chances of admission to a reputed university increase.
Serving the bilateral purpose of rewarding the efforts of students and addressing the financial constraints, scholarships are a blessing for the education sector. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that a scholarship is a small step that leads to a radical change. Scholarship as a provision is a great motivator for the students and the schools because it ensures optimum performance by teachers as well as students.