For many Indian students aspiring for high quality education in the field they choose, study abroad scholarships prove great. Scholarships make education affordable and enable you to access the best universities in the world. Harvard University’s President, Derek Bok, once remarked ‘If you think investing in education is expensive, try ignorance’. His message simply was to indicate that the long term cost of ignorance far exceeds the short/medium term cost of education. Although the wise words of Derek Bok capture the importance of having a long term focus on holistically building on all aspects of an individual’s or a society’s persona, current market forces have made it awfully challenging to deliver quality education to all aspiring for it.

Consequently, Universities, Corporations and Governments have recognised a threshold in the population that may absolutely deserve accessibility to high quality education or at least an opportunity to compete on common grounds. Hence, they have been often investing greatly into broadening opportunities for the less fortunate through scholarships and other means of financial aid.

There are 5 types of study overseas scholarships that are well known in the mainstream:

– Merit-Based: Merit Based aid originated as a result of top tier universities finding themselves in a bidding war for desirable students. Troy Miller once stated, ‘Instead of students competing to get into the best colleges, have the colleges competing to get the best students’. Merit based awards are hence typically granted on the basis of academic, artistic, athletic or other extracurricular based superiority.

– Need-Based: The predominant condition to be eligible for a Need-Based Scholarship is financial assistance. Student groups who originate from monetarily less fortunate backgrounds may be eligible for such study abroad scholarships. Although academic profiles may be considered, the primary concern and decision making process is based on the monetary well being of the student’s family. These study overseas scholarships may provide coverage ranging from full tuition fees to partial tuition fees, living costs or even the cost of books at times.

– Student-Specific: These study overseas scholarships are largely granted to students with distinct characteristics that could range from race, gender, religion or even medical issues. They can be better classified as minority based scholarships as they strictly target minority groups that may be disadvantaged at some level and are given the opportunity to compete on common grounds through financial aid.

– Career-Specific: Certain areas of study often come under financial aid provision to address supply shortages and the generic longer term outlook for careers stemming from those areas. Universities have an agenda to produce talent that will benefit employers to recruit talent that perform skilled tasks that otherwise may require outside options. Hence, students pursuing listed skill shortage areas may gain substantial financial assistance from various institutions.

– College-Specific: Most institutions have certain core competencies that form the foundation for their research, education delivery and reputation. Hence, to enhance their ideologies and knowledge systems, universities introduce programmes and study abroad scholarships that are unique to their prestige. These scholarship opportunities are highly competitive and are awarded on the basis of various factors including academic, personal achievements, extra-curricular activities, overall profiles, etc. This is often awarded in the form of reduced tuition fees.

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