What are the Different Sources of Higher Education Funding?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2019
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Higher education funding helps defer some or all of the expenses associated with going to college, university or in pursuing other higher education options. One popular source of funding is a scholarship. Higher education grants come in two forms and also help relieve the financial burden. Student loans operate much like a bank loan and, unlike grants and scholarships, must be repaid. Many employers also offer to help fund higher education through a reimbursement program.

A higher education scholarship consists of a sum of money given to students to help pay for tuition and other expenses. This type of higher education funding does not need to be repaid by the recipient. It comes in many different varieties ranging from a small portion of tuition to full coverage. Scholarships are awarded by colleges, charitable organizations, and many professional organizations among others. Recipients must meet predetermined criteria based on grades, public service, and other factors in order to be awarded a scholarship.

Grants are similar to scholarships because they are a form of higher education funding that does not need to be repaid. These funds are usually provided by government organizations and have a different set of qualifying criteria based on merit and need. Merit-based grants are awarded to students that meet specific scholastic requirements. Need-based grants are given to prospective students based on family income and ability to pay tuition alone. Students or families that earn less money frequently qualify for larger amounts of grant money.


A higher education student loan works generally same as a bank loan. Various organizations specialize in providing higher education funding to prospective students with the expectation that the money will be repaid, often with interest. These funds are not merit based-because the funds provide a method to help pay for college rather than as a reward for scholastic performance. Financial history is an important aspect of the student loan process because much like an ordinary bank loan, the person or family taking out the loan must be able to prove it can be repaid.

Tuition reimbursement is a type of higher education funding provided by an employer to its employees. Many companies offer this type of funding as a benefit to those workers attempting to improve their education and skills. This form of funding generally covers all or a portion of schooling while an employee continues to work for the company. In many cases, an employee must pursue a degree that is sufficiently job related. In addition, as a condition of the reimbursement, some companies may require employees to stay with the company for a specified amount of time after their education is complete.



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