What is the difference between fellowship and scholarship?

What is the difference between fellowship and scholarship

The modern education system is expensive. Quality education opportunities are beyond the reach of many deserving students due to financial constraints. Many students lack financial resources and are not able to afford higher education. To offer assistance, there are various types of financial aids that are offered to aspirants with excellent academic record. The two most common forms of financial aids are–scholarships and fellowships. But what is the difference between a fellowship and a scholarship and how do they work?

The two financial aids, scholarships and fellowships, are very different from each other, and it is important to know what differentiates them to apply for the most suitable one. So read on as we break down these two kinds of fundings for you in the article that discusses fellowship vs scholarship.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial grant or help given to students with excellent academic records.  This financial aid is given only to students with good grades, excellent academic scores, and educational achievements. It is granted by various educational institutions like colleges, schools, and universities. A scholarship is offered by both private and public educational institutions. Every educational institution has its criteria for offering scholarships depending upon the coursework and degree. There are scholarship schemes offered by national and international schools, colleges, and universities. The amount of money sanctioned through a scholarship program completely depends upon the eligibility and requirements. The fund is flexible and can cover elements like tuition fees, accommodation, travel, food and other education-related expenses. 

A scholarship applies to school, college and university-level education. There are various types of scholarships that are based on education, sports, and other quotas. It has become very common for students to study abroad with the help of scholarship programs. These programs make international education completely free for students with low economic resources. A scholarship does not come with repayment. It means that there is no need for the students to pay back the amount. Depending upon the eligibility, a scholarship fund can cover either 100% of the educational expenses or a part of them. Excellence in academic and co-curricular activities is the only way to get a scholarship grant.

Expenses covered under the scholarship:

  • Tuition fee: The tuition fee is the main component that is covered under a scholarship. The fee is usually high for reputed institutions across the globe and technical courses like data science, engineering, aviation, and medicine. There are a lot of students who travel abroad every year to study under scholarship programs. An excellent rank in competitive exams such as IELTS or TOEFL can also make students eligible for a scholarship abroad. The tuition fee is completely covered and sometimes a part of it is covered, as per the eligibility requirements. 
  • Accommodation: Higher education is always preferred from foreign lands where there is a robust education system and immense work opportunities. A scholarship covers the entire living and accommodation cost like that of food, rent and utilities. This lightens huge financial burden from the shoulders of the students who leave their homes to pursue higher education from prestigious institutions. 
  • Traveling: Studying abroad includes visa charges and air tickets that many students cannot afford. A scholarship grant covers the entire travel cost. However, this varies from institution to institution. It is not the same under every scheme. While some would offer 100% scholarships, others would grant 50% of the entire expense. 
  • Books and study materials: Technical books and study materials are not necessarily affordable. Therefore, the expenses for study materials are covered under a scholarship program. It encourages brilliant students to come forward and pursue higher education. 

Types of scholarships available for higher education:

  • Need-based scholarship: This form of scholarship is very common among economically weak students. If the students can show some sort of hardship in completing their studies, this kind of scholarship is granted. 
  • Merit-based scholarship: Stellar academic records form the sole eligibility for a merit-based scholarship. This kind of scholarship is the most common in schools, colleges and universities worldwide.
  • Test scholarship: There are several globally reputed tests that play an instrumental role in getting students earn admissions into renowned institutions and study abroad. An excellent score in these tests can get you a scholarship. Some tests that offer scholarships are NET, GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS and NMSQT/PSAT.

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship is a funding award granted to students with excellent academic records. A fellowship is very different from a scholarship. In fellowship, a certain amount of fund or just some status is granted to research scholars and PhD holders for contributing towards research and development of the education system. It can only be about being a part of an academic institution with no salary or job. A fellowship is granted after graduation. It can be a monetary award paid to scholars and researchers for contributing towards research and development. For advanced studies, aspirants contribute to the education system. This contribution may be awarded through monetary fund, status or just a table and a computer. 

The fellows taking up courses like PhD are a part of the fellowship program. They are a part of a project, and they take research to the next level. For their contribution, the organization or the government rewards them with a certain amount of financial help to keep their research work going. However, sometimes the research fellows only receive the status of being a part of a reputed organization and do not get any financial help. It does not apply to any school-level or college-level courses. The fellowship applies to research-based work after graduation. Under the fellowship program, students can also teach at the respective academic institution and earn a good amount of status, work experience and funds. 

Types of fellowships:

  • Doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships: The doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships are offered to meritorious research scholars who take up a definite subject and do research on it. Theirs’ is a huge contribution to the education system. Scholars get a PhD fellowship in the form of a stipend, temporary employment as lecturers, and scope for better opportunities. A PhD fellow is also awarded a reputed status in a particular academic institution where the scholar is pursuing the degree.
  • Medical fellowship: The medical fellowship program is awarded to physicians who have completed their general medicine course and take up a specific field of medicine. There are various medical niches and medicine fellowships are offered for specific subjects. This helps medical practitioners to excel and become master practitioners in their field. Various medical colleges and universities help these scholars to practice medicine and contribute to research work. In return for this, they get monetary help to continue their further research and development work.

Differences between Fellowship and Scholarship:

Here is a complete list enumerating the differences between a fellowship and a scholarship:

                  Scholarship                   Fellowship
A scholarship is a financial grant given to students with excellent educational and academic records. It includes the educational cost of a certain course that is taken up by the students. The scholarship may include all the educational expenses that a student would need to bear for taking up a particular course.  A fellowship is an award granted to research scholars and researchers for their excellent merit and research contribution towards a particular educational niche. It can include monetary awards for the scholars to take up further research, or sometimes it is all about the status of being a part of research under a particular academic institution. 
A scholarship is applicable for school level, college level and university level education. It is not only restricted to higher education. A scholarship can be earned by every student, irrespective of their education level. There are private schools, colleges and universities that offer scholarships.  A fellowship is only available on courses after graduation. It is applicable for post-graduation, doctoral and post-doctoral courses. A fellowship is focused only on research and development-related courses. It has nothing to do with school and undergraduate degrees. 
A scholarship includes all the expenses like tuition fee, accommodation, living costs, utilities, traveling and books study material.  A fellowship includes monetary or/and non-monetary awards. It can be financial aid, employment, research opportunities and status in an academic institution. 
Scholarships focus on need, motive and financial crisis.  Fellowships focuses on the merit and research scope of the scholars. 
The scholarship amount is paid for the welfare of the students. It is done to encourage meritorious students with low economic resources. There is no repayment of the fund that is granted to the students.  The fellowship amount is paid for the welfare of the education system. The research scholars contribute to research and development, which works for the welfare of the education system. 
Scholarship is based on monetary help only. There will not be any other benefit offered in terms of employment, status, or any other opportunities.  Fellowship is not based solely on monetary help. It can be in the form of recognition, status, employment and sometimes just a desk and computer are all that the research fellows get for contributing to the education system. 
It is a help that is offered to the students by various educational institutions and universities.  Fellowship is not any help; it is an award given to the research fellows for contributing towards the education system. They contribute towards the betterment of a niche that they are researching on. The education system gets better with the research and development contribution made by fellow students. 

While numerous meritorious students are eager to study abroad, financial restrictions often stop them from achieving their goal. This is where financial aids assume utmost importance. A right financial aid can help aspiring students to complete their higher education without any charge. For all the scholars and research fellows, the fellowship program is the best way to get financial support, status and employment opportunities. Therefore, understand the difference between fellowship and scholarship to take the right step. Visit upGrad Abroad to speak to one of the mentors and get assistance regarding scholarship and fellowship programs worldwide. 

Fellowship vs Scholarship: FAQs

Q1: Will scholarships cover 100% of education cost? 

A1: Yes, some scholarships cover up to 100% of the education cost. However, there are eligibility criteria as per the marks or ranks obtained by the students. Depending on the rank, the percentage of scholarship grants is decided by the educational institutions. The top ranks and merits are eligible for a complete 100% scholarship grant. 

Q2: How to apply for a scholarship?

A2: The application process for scholarships at various institutions varies. You need to visit the website of the educational institution and then follow the rules and guidelines. Check the eligibility criteria for the scholarship and then start preparing for it. 

Q3: What is a good scholarship amount? 

A3: A good scholarship amount is a 100% grant. This is completely based on your eligibility and rank. The portion of scholarship percentage will vary according to the scores and ranks of the students. To obtain a 100% scholarship, you need to hold the top academic position as asked in the eligibility criteria. 

Q4: Can I apply for more than one fellowship? 

A4: Yes, you can apply for more than one fellowship at a single time. There is no limit to the number of fellowship applications. Various fellowship programs offer almost the same opportunities and benefits. 

Q5: Which are the main tests that help in getting a scholarship abroad? 

A5: Various competitive exams offer overseas scholarships. A few of them are NET, GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL and ACT.

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