A scholarship is a financial award intended to help cover the cost of education. Eligibility is based on criteria established by the donor. Scholarships do not have to be repaid. Most are given to eligible students with no strings attached. Some may require the student to maintain a certain level of academic success, perform community service or work for a particular employer after graduation.
A financial aid grant is money awarded to a student to pay for education expenses. Grants are given by the federal government, state governments, schools and private institutions. Like scholarships, they do not need to be repaid. Grant providers will stipulate whether a grant should be used toward tuition, research costs or additional expenses.
An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. Eligibility usually, but not always, is based on financial need. Limits are set on how much financial assistance students can receive in the form of federal student loans. Federal law sets the maximum interest rates and fees charged on these loans.