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General information

What are scholarships?

Scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded to individuals for the purposes of their education, training, professional development or research. Scholarships may be granted on the basis of academic achievement and/or leadership potential (merit-based scholarships), special talents (such as sports or performing arts), social status (need-based scholarships), or being part of a particular social or ethnic group.

Types of tertiary education scholarships

Scholarship programs can include degree-programs (bachelor's, master's and doctoral study programs), short-term study programs, professional development programs (seminars, conferences, workshops, internships etc.), scientific research, language-learning, etc.

Scholarships can be full or partial. Full scholarships cover the costs of tuition, accommodation and board, personal expenses and additional study materials such as books and supplies, whereas partial scholarships may cover one or more of the same costs, but not all of them.

Who are scholarships awarded by?

Scholarships are awarded by a wide range of institutions, organizations and individuals from all sectors of society – public, civil, corporate and private. The most common among them are:

  • Higher education institutions (colleges, faculties, universities etc.)
  • National or local government (ministries, counties/provinces, cities etc.)
  • International organizations
  • Foundations
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Private companies
  • Private donors

What is the wider significance of scholarships?

Scholarships are important in the wider context of society for a number of reasons. Firstly, scholarships create a more open access to higher education for those who demonstrate merit, as well as to those who would not have access to higher education save for the additional funding. By raising access to higher education, scholarships contribute to the democratization of higher education and help increase the number of higher-educated citizenry.

Secondly, scholarship programs incite cooperation initiatives between higher education institutions and the representatives of the public, civil and corporate sector. That, in turn, makes for better links between the universities and their wider communities in terms of the range of educational programs available on the one hand, and the kind of education and training required by all sectors in the labor market on the other.

Finally, scholarships are an important factor in raising the academic mobility of students, researchers and teachers within the European Higher Education Area and beyond, which is one of the main objectives of the Bologna Declaration. The creation and implementation of joint scholarship programs, along with educational exchange programs, contribute to the national and international cooperation of universities with other institutions involved in higher education.

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