Need-Based vs Merit-Based Scholarships: Popularity, Eligibility and Criteria
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Need-Based vs Merit-Based Scholarships: Popularity, Eligibility and Criteria

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Priya
Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jun 17, 2024 12:15 IST

Most students looking to pursue higher education have an undeniable urge to travel overseas to further their cause. However, studying abroad can be irrefutably an expensive affair. Many aspirants looking to travel abroad for higher education quit mid-way as they are unable to meet the required funds or seldom believe the Return on Investment (ROI) would be worth the big leap of faith. Other times students hesitate to go ahead with their application procedure due to the high processing fees levied by international universities. After all who would want to embark on a journey half prepared?

Need-Based vs Merit-Based Scholarships

Students with good academic profiles fail to apply to universities abroad due to a lack of awareness of the availability of scholarships in the education domain. There is a lot of information about scholarships and education grants, available in the education sector for the benefit of students that are muddled and not correctly communicated to them. Broadly speaking, there are two major types of scholarships popular in the national and international domain – Need-Based Scholarships and Merit-Based Scholarships. Let us learn about them in detail.

Also read:

What are Merit-Based Scholarships?

As the name suggests, merit-based scholarships are awarded to aspirants who possess an excellent academic or extracurricular profile. The amount of reward entirely depends on the aspirants’ performance in their overall academics which includes scores of common entrance examinations such as GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, and GRE or in the field of extracurricular activities or sports. A merit-based scholarship is also granted to athletic, artistic or musical talents, just to name a few. Aspirants are required to get in touch with each school for benefits like this. Candidates may be required to reach out to their coach or department head after contacting admissions authorities if they think they are a good candidate for a non-academic merit scholarship.

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Candidates should keep in mind that a merit-based scholarship is solely awarded to candidates based on their academic performance or other talents or contributions, it is not awarded keeping in mind one’s family financial circumstances. As mentioned, it is common for colleges to look at your academic background, past rankings, scores of international examinations and your overall academic track record before qualifying for a grant.

What is a Need-based Scholarship?

As the name suggests, need-based scholarships are awarded to candidates who belong to financially weaker sections. These kinds of scholarships are awarded to candidates to allow them to complete their education in spite of not being able to meet the financial requirements. Need-based financial aid is primarily awarded to students in the form of grants and it should be the goal of every candidate to maximize this kind of aid before seeking other sources of help or quitting.

Also Read: Scholarship Interview Questions with Answers to Study Abroad

Difference between Merit and Need-Based Scholarships

The following table represents the key components as well as the difference of merit and need-based scholarships. 

Basis

Merit-Based Scholarships

Need-Based Scholarships

Criteria

Should have a proven track record of excellence in academics or extracurricular skills.

Should be able to provide proof of financial documents, stating the financial condition of the family.

Eligibility             

To be eligible for aid, the candidate is required to excel in academics or extracurricular activities.

To be eligible for aid, the candidate is required to belong to the financially weaker section of society.

Popularity                         

Both scholarships are equally popular among their target aspirants. The guidelines for receiving the aid are pre-determined by the funding committee and are available for aspirants to apply online or through the post without any biases.

Common points to keep in mind to applying for Merit and Need-based Scholarships

  • Candidates should keep in mind that though the two scholarships differ on the eligibility and popularity scale, however, it is extremely important to keep certain things in mind, common to both. Candidates seeking financial assistance should apply well before the prescribed time format to avoid any last-minute hassle. Hence, it is extremely important for candidates to pay attention to deadlines as colleges would require you to apply well before the regular admission timeline.
  • Candidates applying for scholarships would definitely have to go through a rigorous admission procedure, like any institution providing them an opportunity to study on their money would only want to select the best. Hence, candidates should be well prepared to appear for additional tests or provide supplementary documents to be considered for financial aid. It is important for candidates to have their documents well in place and be willing to go through any additional procedures if required.

It is a myth debunked that scholarships are very limited or reserved for a select few. Scholarships be it merit-based or need-based are provided extensively by most education bodies abroad and in India. Scholarships are provided by the country of origin, through private organizations and foundations and through educational institutions. 

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FAQs

Q. What do you mean by merit and need based scholarships?

A. Need-based scholarships are the financial aids that are provided to students who are facing financial constraints or difficulties. Basically, a need-based scholarship is aimed for students with weak financial backgrounds, who are not able to meet the high tuition fees and living expenses in foreign countries. On the other hand, a merit-based scholarship is awarded to those students who demonstrate great academic and / or extra-curricular records like achievements in sports or community service.

Q. What is the difference between merit and need-based scholarships?

A. A merit-based scholarship offers financial support on the basis of the academic achievements of students. However, via a need-based scholarship, a student will get funds as per their level of financial need.

Q. How to apply for need-based scholarships?

A. In order to apply for the need-based scholarships, students should be able to show the financial documents, specifying the financial condition of the family. In order to be eligible for a need-based scholarship, students should belong to a financially weaker section of society.

Q. Are merit-based scholarships difficult to get?

A. To get admission to a highly selective school, a merit-based scholarship is difficult to get since you will be competing against a large number of applicants. A merit-based scholarship is awarded entirely as per your merit either in academics, leadership activity, sports, community service, or any other special interests.

Q. How can you get a full-ride scholarship?

A. A full-ride scholarship is a financial award, like any other scholarship but this covers all your college expenses. This includes books, tuition, fees and room, class materials, and possibly even living costs. So, to get a full-ride scholarship, you need to search about where these types of scholarships are offered. You can also check your selected university’s website or a list of external scholarships. Then, start preparing in advance if you have to appear for the interview for this scholarship. Make yourself stand out from other applicants and try to get good academic scores. Also, take part in extra-curricular activities.
About the Author
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Written by
Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert

Priya Garg is a seasoned content writer and editor. With her rich experience in content writing, teaching and research & analysis, Priya believes in providing only the correct information which is also up-to-date. H... Read Full Bio

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Comments

(3)

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satyam dave

2 years ago

usa scholarships need based for purdue university?

Reply to satyam dave

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Rahul Singha

2 years ago

Hello Satyam. You can always get in touch with the university representatives to know about the scholarship(s) on offer for candidates who make the required academic cut. You can also check out the university in detail here: (contd)

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Rahul Singha

2 years ago

https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/usa/universities/purdue-university You can also check out a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/scholarships

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Myra khan

3 years ago

Top scholarship to study in Canada

Reply to Myra khan

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Rahul Singha

3 years ago

Hello Myra. You can check out the top scholarships to study in Canada for International students here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/top-scholarships-to-study-in-canada-articlepage-373 and also check out our list of comprehensive scholarships for study abroad here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com

...more

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Myra khan

3 years ago

How can I apply for scholarship

Reply to Myra khan

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Rahul Singha

3 years ago

Hello Myra. You can browse through the scholarships by visiting the links mentioned in your earlier comment and select the most appropriate one and follow the instructions on how to apply. Do get in touch for further queries.