Scholarship vs Assistantship

Scholarships and assistantships are two options that students have to pay for their education. While both can provide financial assistance, they differ in terms of the amount of money received, the application process, and the type of commitment required. Scholarships are typically merit-based and can range from small awards to full-tuition awards. Assistantships typically involve working for the university in exchange for tuition remission. Both options can provide a great opportunity for students, but it is important for students to determine which option is best for their individual situation.

Dream of studying professional courses abroad opens the door to numerous opportunities but it also costs a huge amount of money. Due to financial constraints/ affordability, many students are forced to compromise on their study abroad dreams. After realising this big issue and helping out the needy and deserving students foreign universities have introduced many scholarships, fellowships and assistantships. In this blog, we will discuss to know the differences and similarities between both terms.

Major Differences Between Scholarship and Assistantship

The below mention tables share the differences between Scholarships and Assistantships.

Base of Differences Scholarships Assistantships
Education Level Secondary to Master  PhD or Post Doc
Academic Program General Non-Research  Research
Eligibility Merit and Need-Based Merit and Need-Based
Aid Coverage Awardee receives full or partial tuition fee waiver, books, travelling, project works, equipment etc. Awardee receives money for their study and research. It also includes some non-financial benefits.

Also Read: Study Abroad Scholarships!

What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a type of financial support that is provided for covering all or a part of the educational costs. It majorly includes tuition fees, books, equipment, project work, etc. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial needs, the course, and the merit of the students. There is a multitude of scholarships offered by the government and private sector organizations for the students who have the will and determination to study but somehow lack the necessary resources to do it. What is important to note is that scholarships, unlike education loans, are not repayable. The entire expenditure is borne by the scholarship-providing organization. Further, these aids start right from school and extend up to the university level. There are numerous scholarships for students who want to pursue their studies in India as well as abroad, some of which have been listed below: 

Types of Scholarships

There are mainly six types of scholarships available for international students mentioned below.

  1. Merit-Based Scholarships
  • Merit-Based Scholarships are awarded to international students on the basis of their academic performance. Its prime motive is to support and encourage students with exceptional academic performances.
  • Merit-Based Scholarships do not take the financial status of the applicant into consideration.
  • Financial aid is provided to the students exclusively meant to cover full or partial tuition fees.
  1. Need-Based Scholarships
  • Need-Based Scholarships are awarded to international students based on their financial needs or family income status. These scholarships are independent of the merits of the applicant. 
  • Students’ employment, residence status, tax details and country of origin are also considered as important factors.
  • Sometimes students may qualify for both need-based and merit-based scholarships depending upon the programs and university. In that case, students can avail only one scholarship.
  1. Country-Specific Scholarships
  • Country- Specific Scholarships are awarded to international students belonging to developing countries.
  • These scholarships are awarded to encourage these students to pursue higher studies.
  • These scholarships are awarded by both private and public organizations to deserving students.
  1. Government Scholarships
  • These scholarships are mainly awarded by both national and international global organizations. 
  • The purpose of the government scholarship programs is to support and encourage higher studies among the most deserving students.
  • Fulbright Foreign Students Programs and the Chevening Scholarship are some of the worldwide famous global government scholarship programs.
  1. Private Scholarships
  • Private Scholarships are offered to international students by individuals or private business organizations. 
  • These scholarships are awarded based on both merit-based and need-based criteria depending upon the choice and priority of the donor.
  • Financial aid provided to the students is exclusively meant to cover full or partial tuition fees.
  1. University Scholarships
  • University Scholarships are the scholarships offered by foreign universities to enrol international students to fund their tuition fees.
  • These are also called entrant scholarships. Students do not need to apply separately.
  • Financial aid provided to the students is exclusively meant to cover full or partial tuition fees. 

What is Assistantship?

An assistant is a university student who is assisting a professor or a department with their intellectual contributions to teaching or research assignments. An Assistantship is a kind of financial support provided to graduate, doctorate and research students in exchange for their academic work. It is awarded annually to a few qualified graduate students that require part-time teaching, research, or residence hall duties. They may be assisting a professor as a research assistant, helping to coordinate their classes as their TA ( teaching assistant), or it may give them the flexibility to work on campus or the in the library for a given number of hours every week. Their tasks as an assistant are quite diverse it includes conducting survey research, mentoring undergraduates, developing websites, doing library research work, and participating in faculty meetings and research committee gatherings. An Assistantship, therefore, is like a work-study program. 

Types of Assistantship

On the basis of work allotment Assistantships are categorized into the following categories-

Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA)

The role of a Graduate Teaching Assistant is to conduct or support given instructions. GTA’s primary responsibilities include the following duties assigned to them – grading student assignments, proctoring exams, tutoring students, and leading lab and discussion groups when asked to do.

Graduate Research Assistant (RA)

The role of a Graduate Teaching Assistant is to apply and master research concepts, practices etc. GRA’s primary responsibilities include the following duties assigned to them – conducting experiments, organizing or analyzing the data, and collaborating work of fellow research assistants.

Graduate Assistant (GA)

The role of a Graduate Assistant is to support administrative assignments of the departments. GRA’s primary responsibilities include the following duties assigned to them – arranging course materials, general office work including clerical and reception, supervising reading rooms and maintaining day-to-day correspondence. Apart from that they also need to look after technical/support services, mentoring students and outreach duties.

Which One to Choose: Scholarship or Assistantships?

Scholarships provide a lot of flexibility to the students as compared with the Assistantship. Assistantships always come with both major and light responsibilities and commitments. It totally depends on students to choose one between both as per their prior commitment or study schedule.

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