Generally speaking, grants are needs based, while scholarships aren’t necessarily tied to financial requirements, but instead are based on merit for things like academics or athletics. Of all the financial aid available to college-bound students, grants and scholarships are great because they don’t have to be paid back. Most of this “gift money” comes from the Federal Government’s Pell Grant Program, although states and schools also contribute.
Also, there are many privately funded scholarships available from foundations, businesses and even individuals. In fact, the institute for higher education policy claims that private funding accounts for more than $3 million in available financial aid. Finding this private money can be vital, but how do you find it? Your local library has resources to help you, and there are several free search services available online, including Fastweb, the College Board, and scholarship experts.
The bottom line is that if you’re trying to find a way to pay for college, help is out there – you just need to do some homework.