What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is an award of access to an institution, or a financial aid award for an individual student scholar, for the purpose of furthering their education. Scholarships are awarded based on a range of criteria which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.

As poverty and paucity of funds pose as a hindrance in the spread of higher education, various governmental and non-governmental organizations have started providing Scholarships in India and abroad. Moreover, various foreign Universities and International agencies also provide scholarships to Indian students so that they can carry out their Higher Studies in a reputed institution of their choice. On the other hand, there are some Institutes in India that provide fellowships to foreign Scholars.

While most of the fellowships are meant to benefit individual students, some scholarships in India and abroad are also provided primarily to promote interaction among students from various cultures. These fellowships in India may be provided by both the government and the private organizations. While most of the scholarships in India are meant for Indian students, some institutes also offer fellowships to foreign scholars.

Scholarship Application Procedure

The procedure for applying for different scholarships in India and abroad are different. The fellowships amount also differs according to the grade of study and organization or the trust that offers it. It is important for the students to go through the details of the scholarships in India and abroad before accepting them as many of them may come with some strings attached. One should accept the fellowships available in India and abroad only when the terms and conditions, if any, are acceptable.

Types of Scholarships

Scholarships may be classified into the following primary groups.

* Merit: This is financial aid for which financial need is not used to determine the recipient. The recipient may be determined by students’ athletic,academic, artistic or other abilities. The actual monetary value of the scholarship may be negligible, the scholarship being meant to motivate the student and promote the study of the subject. However, this is not always the case and the largest scholarships are almost always merit-based.

* Need: This is financial aid for which the student and family’s financial situation is a primary factor in determining the recipient. Usually such scholarship will cover all or part of the tuition and may even cover living costs. Very often even need-based private scholarships require the awardees to be distinguished students, as the deed founding the award may include a phrase like for the studies of founder's favorite subject in founder's favorite institution of higher education for a talented youth of limited means from founder's home town/county/state,etc.

* Sociology: This is financial aid where applicants must initially qualify by race, religion, or national origin. After filtering the applicants based on their ethnicity,additional factors are taken into consideration to determine the final recipients.

* Institutional: These are scholarships awarded by a specific college or university (institution) to a student planning to attend that institution.

* General: These are other scholarships, which are awarded for a variety of reasons that do not fall into one of the above categories. These may be for reasons of the student's association with the objectives of the sponsoring organization. For example, some corporations give scholarships to their employees' children or based upon academic success.

Some scholarships have a "bond" requirement. Recipients may be required to work for a particular employer for a specified period of time or to work in rural or remote areas; otherwise they may be required to repay the value of the support they received from the scholarship.

Obtaining Scholarships

It is typical for persons to find scholarships in their home region.Information on these can be found by asking local persons and organizations. Typically, these are less competitive as the eligible population is smaller.

* Guidance counselors: When starting to explore scholarship opportunities, high school students should definitely check in with their guidance counselors. They can be a great resource for local scholarships.

* Non-profit organizations: Most non-profit organizations have at some point of their history founded scholarships for prospective students:

* Community foundations: Many countries / cities / regions have a local foundation dedicated to giving money in the form of grants and scholarships to people and organizations in the area.

* Labor unions: All the major labor unions offer scholarships for members and their dependent children.

* Houses of worship: The local house of worship may or may not have any scholarships for their members, but the religious organization or headquarters may have some available. Of course, the best-supported area is the study of theology.

* Chamber of commerce: Many chambers of commerce offer (usually small) grants to students in the community,especially those planning on careers in business and public service.Even if they do not offer any themselves, you can usually get a listing of members, and many of them may offer small scholarships to local students.

* Other volunteer organizations: Many organizations offer scholarships or award grants to students whose background or chosen field overlaps the field of the organization. For example, local chapters of professional societies may help the studies of exceptionally distinguished students of the region.

* School: Old, well-known schools have often been endowed with scholarship funds.

* University: Old, well-established universities may have funds to finance the studies of extremely talented students of little means. To be eligible for them, the student must usually belong to some special category or be among the nation's best. However, universities have information available on scholarships and grants, possibly even internship opportunities.

Scholarship Programmes

1) Young Science Fellowship Programme

Indian Institute of Science offers this scholarship partially supported by Sir Ratan Tata Trust Bombay. This fellowship is for toppers in 12thStandard who wish to pursue studies in Science or Mathematics.

Contact following address to apply:

The Registrar, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore 560 012, Tel: 91-80-22932001-05, Fax: 91-80-2360 0683/0085

2) Merit-cum-Means Scholarship (MHRD)

Eligibility:If annual income is less than Rs.25000 pa then the value of scholarship is: Rs.250 pm. If annual income is more than Rs.25000 pa then value of scholarship is Rs.100 a merit certificate.

Address to apply:

Director, National Institute of Technology NIT Campus (PO), Calicut, Kerala-673 601.

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