Attending university is an expensive prospect, especially here in North America where we can't always count on the government to help us finance our educations. Does that mean that we have to give up our dreams of getting a job in dental marketing? No. It simply means we must be cleverer about finding alternative sources of university funding. Many students who are unable to get loans to cover all of their expenses rely on scholarships and grants to get them through their studies. Here's some more information on these sources of funding.
Scholarships are financial aid awards that are given to students who meet certain criteria by the organization that has set up the fund. Funds that supply the money for scholarships are usually established by a donation from a patron, and money is then augmented through seasonal investing and the proceeds given out as scholarships to students whom the fund's administrators deem most worthy. Companies, schools, and community organizations are often sources of scholarships.
To apply for a scholarship, you must meet the criteria set out by the fund's administrators. Sometimes this is as simple as wanting to train for a real estate career or having a parent who belongs to a specific union. Other times you will have to demonstrate that you are worthy through letters of recommendation or essays that outline your future plans. Scholarships are also sometimes awarded to people who play sports well. They may be partial (perhaps $1,000 or less) or full ride (everything taken care of) and are often based on financial need.
Grants are slightly different. With a grant, a fund is established, either as an ACH merchant account with a donated sum or by setting aside a certain portion of public funds. This fund is then doled out according to applicants based on the administrator's opinion of their plans for the money. Grants are usually set aside for specific purposes, such as to improve or restore a certain area or to bring new members to a certain profession in a given area. They are not given out to just any old student who needs financial aid.
To apply for a grant, you will have to create an application package that will outline what you intend to do with the money. Grants are generally not awarded to undergraduates who have only a vague idea what to do with their educations. Rather, they are awarded to graduate students who intend to pursue a particular topic in their studies, such as distributing framed art sets to the poor to study the effect of art on their stress levels. The work done by students working under grants often forms the basis for a study or initiative that the organization administering the grant supports or is interested in.
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