A person is defined by three very important things – his character, attitude and education. None of those without the other can possibly be of any use. Unfortunately, as the scope of learning increased the cost to learn increased along with it. Education these days comes at price much higher than what many can afford. In such a situation an avid learner seeks aid and this is awarded to them in the form of scholarships.
A scholarship is type of financial aid given to a student for their educational purposes. Scholarships are awarded to select students based on various criteria, which generally revolves around the values of the donor of the award. The biggest difference between an educational loan and a scholarship is that there is no requisite for scholarship money to be repaid.
Although a scholarship needs no repayment, there are certain cases where the student is required to enter into a bond agreement. Bond agreements are usually require the student to work for specified employers for a particular period. Sometimes bonds may even require the student to work in remote or rural areas for specified periods. A bond arises when the donor expects repayment in the form of kind. This is the most common scenario in medical and nursing scholarships. For example, programs offered by uniformed services in most countries (Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, etc) resemble such scholarships.
There are many types of scholarships. Merit-based scholarships are offered by most universities. These are based on a student’s academic as well as extracurricular activities. This is the most common scholarship awarded to recognize academic achievement of a student who has scored high on his standardized tests. Another type of scholarship is the student-specific scholarship. These are mainly based on gender, religion, race, medical history and family. The most famous in this category is the minority awards which are sometimes known as ‘reservations’. For example, The Gates Millennium Scholars is the kind of program that exists for the minority.
The most essential and purpose oriented scholarship is the need-based scholarship. This sort of scholarship requires a certain amount of clarification and paper work. It basically caters to that section of the society that is financially backward. The complete education sometimes is covered by the scholarship but usually there is a formula used to derive the amount of scholarship after considering the family contribution and intended attendance in the college.
A scholarship is not always offered by a higher authority or the government. They can be seen even in local arenas. Organizations such as trade unions, charitable trusts, foundations and even the house of worship often cater to their respective members with dependent children.
In recent times, there has been speculation that most student-specific scholarships have a discriminatory tendency. For example, minorities are thought to have a priority over the other students when it comes to receiving student-specific scholarships. This has caused many arguments in various forums. However, such arguments can never be conclusive as long as there are minorities existing.