What’s the Difference Between Scholarships and Fellowships?


Are you wondering what the difference is between scholarships and fellowships?

Scholarships are a form of financial aid given to students to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and other college expenses.

They are typically awarded based on academic achievement or other criteria such as need.

Fellowships, on the other hand, are awards that are usually given to those who are already enrolled in a degree-seeking program and may be used to support research or professional development.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between scholarships and fellowships to help you determine which type of financial aid may be right for you.


Scholarships and Fellowships

The main purpose of a scholarship is to provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate financial need and academic excellence.

Scholarships are typically merit-based awards and do not have to be repaid.

Fellowships, on the other hand, are often need-based awards that are provided to students in order to help them pay for educational expenses.

Fellowships usually include some form of compensation such as a stipend or salary in exchange for research or teaching duties.

In some cases, fellowships may require repayment if the student fails to fulfill their responsibilities.

Scholarships tend to be awarded by universities, organizations, corporations, or private foundations whereas fellowships are mostly awarded by universities, governments, and research institutes.


The amount of money awarded with a scholarship or fellowship can vary greatly depending on the type and source of the funding.

Scholarships are typically awarded in smaller amounts than fellowships.

For example, scholarships may be available in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 while fellowships can range from $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars.

It is important to research the type of scholarship or fellowship you are applying for to get an accurate estimate of how much you can expect to receive.

Additionally, some scholarships or fellowships may be renewable, meaning that they are awarded annually to the same recipient, while others may be one-time awards.

Furthermore, there are differences in who provides scholarships and fellowships. Scholarships can be provided by universities, organizations, foundations, businesses, etc.

But fellowships tend to come from universities or government agencies.

Some scholarships and fellowships are also targeted at specific groups such as students from low-income households or those pursuing specific fields of study.

Finally, there may also be differences in eligibility requirements for scholarships versus fellowships.

Generally, scholarships have fewer eligibility criteria compared to fellowships, which often require certain levels of academic achievement and/or other special qualifications.


Scholarships and Fellowships

The eligibility criteria for scholarships and fellowships vary depending on the awarding body.

Generally, scholarship applicants must demonstrate academic excellence and meet certain financial criteria, such as demonstrating need or belonging to an underrepresented group.

Fellowship applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, may need to show related work experience, and may also need to show their commitment to the field they plan to pursue.

For both scholarships and fellowships, applicants must also typically be enrolled in an accredited educational institution, unless otherwise specified.

In addition to the criteria listed above, some awards also include requirements such as community service or extracurricular activities.

It’s important to read all the details about each scholarship and fellowship so you know what is required to qualify.


When it comes to taxes, scholarships and fellowships are treated differently.

Scholarships are generally not taxable, while fellowships are considered taxable income.

Depending on the situation, some or all of a fellowship may be taxable, but typically any funds that are used for tuition and other qualified education expenses can be excluded from taxation.

Furthermore, if your fellowship includes a stipend for living expenses, then this stipend is usually subject to taxation.

However, it is important to check with your tax advisor to understand the exact taxation rules for your specific situation.

Additionally, scholarships and fellowships differ in terms of their funding sources.

Generally, scholarships are funded by individuals or private organizations such as corporations or nonprofits, whereas fellowships are mostly funded by universities and research institutions.

Therefore, scholarship applicants often need to submit personal essays and demonstrate exemplary academic performance in order to win scholarships

whereas fellowship applicants may need to present more comprehensive research projects in order to secure a fellowship.

Scholarships also tend to come with fewer restrictions than fellowships; whereas many fellowships require you to stay within an academic institution for several years, scholarships often don’t impose such limitations.

It’s also worth noting that scholarships are often one-time awards whereas fellowships can provide more long-term support over multiple years.

Ultimately, both scholarships and fellowships offer great opportunities to help finance college degrees, so explore both options before deciding which one works best for you.


Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships and fellowships have different requirements when it comes to repayment.

Scholarships are considered to be a gift, and thus, do not require repayment.

Fellowships, on the other hand, usually involve an exchange of services for money and require repayment if the recipient does not fulfill their obligation.

It is important to check with the awarding organization for any repayment requirements.

Additionally, scholarships and fellowships are awarded differently in terms of eligibility criteria.

Generally speaking, scholarships are based more on academic merit whereas fellowships often place an emphasis on research or professional experience.

Most scholarships provide funds to cover tuition, while some may also offer additional financial aid like room and board, textbooks, or transportation.

Fellowships tend to provide a stipend that can be used towards tuition or research expenses related to the fellowship program.

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