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Scholarships and Fellowships

Joju Paul.n

Lack of financial resources need not prevent a student from achieving academic goals. Apart from bank loans, a whole range of scholarships is available at different levels. Our new series takes a bird's eye view of the scholarship terrain.

Higher education is expensive the world over. You aspire for your dream career. But the realisation of that dream requires financial support. Very often your family cannot afford the heavy bills. The alternative is to look for monetary assistance from elsewhere.

There are basically two kinds of sources. One is scholarship or fellowship that involves a gift you do not have to repay. Fellowships usually focus on research work. The second one is loan, which you will have to repay in accordance with liberal conditions with regard to interest rate and stretched time for repayment.

Scholarships may be provided by the government or philanthropic individuals or institutions which have altruistic motives. In either case, the award of scholarships would entail conditions ranging from brilliance to nativity, and discipline to financial capacity. Certain scholarships may be for education in India, whereas others may be for overseas studies. Some others may be for either.

Basic objective
Every scholarship or fellowship has the basic objective of promoting excellence in advanced study or research by a competent individual committed to pursuit of excellence. No aid-giver would choose to offer incentives to indifferent people. Higher education, specialised training, or dedicated research should result in enhancement of professional competence in the scholar as well as benefit in some form to society.

The award of a scholarship or fellowship indicates the honourable recognition of the recipients; this puts a heavy responsibility on their shoulders to live up to the expectations.
An award of this kind not only fires the scholars with enthusiasm, but drives them to professional attainments, consequent sense of fulfilment, and a spirit of motivating the coming generation by setting quality goals. On a wider scale, we have international exchange programmes that result in cross-fertilization of ideas in a seamless world.
There are vast segments in society with members endowed with natural gifts, brilliance, and an inclination for sustained effort for attaining excellence, but are kept back by poverty. The institution of scholarships and fellowships is a boon to such deprived youngsters.
There is a general lack of awareness regarding the availability of different kinds of scholarships. This series aims at furnishing an outline of some of them. Details to suit individual interests will have to be gathered, since this treatise cannot be exhaustive.
Further, there may be frequent changes in the style and conditions for the award of scholarships. Often some of these may be terminated. So before launching an effort to procure a scholarship or fellowship, you have to ascertain the precise position.
There are a number of bank and other financial institutions that offer educational loans on liberal terms. Most of our nationalised banks have schemes for higher studies in India and abroad.

It may be appreciated that in most cases we may have to spend some money initially for miscellaneous procedural formalities in order to secure the assistance. We should not be under the impression that we can straightaway join courses in higher education without spending anything from our pocket.

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