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Fellowships vs scholarships: know the difference!!!

Students can get access to financial aid like grants, scholarships and fellowships to pay for college but there are a few things they need to understand like what is a scholarship or fellowship? What is the difference between the two? Understanding the differences is key because these forms of funding differ in many ways. Fellowships or scholarship opportunities can be offered by institutions, government agencies and foundations and both are offered as financial assistance to students without repayment required. 

Fellowships are generally awarded to graduate students to pay for their academic pursuits for example a fellowship for doctoral research focusing on several specialized areas. While there are some fellowships awarded to master’s students, many fellowships are especially awarded for doctoral students.

Scholarships are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students to pay for their academic pursuits. Scholarships are usually offered to students pursuing their high school education or university/college degree

Fellowship funding is based on merit, therefore Graduate students with high GPAs and more experience usually win these fellowships. On the other hand, scholarships are awarded based on merit and at times need based. Scholarships enable children without adequate funds to have the opportunity to continue their education.

Fellowship funding covers tuition costs, in addition the awardees receive monthly stipend to support themselves while pursuing graduate study. Scholarships however cover tuition and directly related expenses and often do not include monthly stipend.

Many times, scholarship and fellowship are used interchangeably causing confusion and sometimes mean the same thing or something different. I hope this article will help clarify some of the confusion pertaining to the differences between a fellowship or scholarship.


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