SENIOR SOLUTIONS: Loans, Scholarships, Grants — What’s the difference?

LH Wordsmith, Columnist/Feature Editor

Loans, Scholarships, and Grants: What’s the difference? What’s free and what isn’t? What requires actual work or is just random? LH Wordsmith here again to the rescue! Maybe you’ve heard this a million times, or maybe not ever; regardless, this is good information to review.

  1. Loans – money you borrow from the bank, the federal government, or private company that MUST BE PAID BACK. These are not great options, but nonetheless are options. Loans have you paying interest through college and after until you can pay it all back.
  2. Scholarships – money you win by having good scholastic standing, amazing extracurriculars, or being a strong leader. When you apply to college, the college may have you submit a separate application to their college-specific scholarships, or you may be automatically applied to all! You can also simply look up scholarships not pertaining to a designated college to find supplemental material.
  3. Grants – money from the federal government FOR FREE. You get the money, apply it to college, and just go to school! Some of these are pretty random: being a woman, being super tall, being really short, etc. The sky’s the limit. Grants are usually smaller in size, as opposed to scholarships, but do not take grants out of the equation! Because there’s a lot of small grants out there and not a whole lot of people apply for them. That means, if you apply, you have a greater chance of getting them. Small amounts can build up super fast, if you play your cards right.

So,  with scholarships and grants, your college “experience”—*cough*  stress *cough*—may not bleed over into your post-graduation life, as it will with loans.

Paying for college may take some time away from your social life, as looking up all these scholarships, grants, and loans will take time, but it is worth the full ride to college and the comfort of knowing you’re all paid up!


Featured Scholarship: Friends of the Grand Prairie Library Scholarship. Stay tuned to learn requirements…

Have a question? Tip? Scholarship? Let me know! Comment below!