The terms scholarship and grant are often used interchangeably. They are similar in that they are both free gift money that does not have to be re-paid, and both can be used to help pay for a college education. However, on a narrower definition of grant, grants are usually tax-exempt funds given by a nonprofit organization for many purposes besides college, such as research. Scholarships, in turn, are funds that are intended specifically for education, and they usually have more stringent qualifications that must be met.
College scholarships are given by the government, businesses, foundations, charities, professional organizations, colleges, and universities. The amounts awarded vary greatly, ranging from a few hundred dollars to full tuition. Many students pay for their college career through the proceeds of several different scholarships. There are literally thousands of scholarships available, variously awarded based on such diverse factors as financial need, a particular field of study, outstanding grades, athletic or creative talent, medical or disability status, military status, age, religion, political affiliation, nationality, race, ethnic origin, gender, and sexual orientation.
Many architecture schools offer scholarships to their students. Students should therefore check with the school of their choice to see what is available. These scholarships can be based on a variety of criteria, such as financial need, academic achievement, field of study, or minority status.
Many professional architectural organizations and foundations, such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), and the Association of Women in Architecture Foundation (AWAF) also award scholarships and fellowships to qualifying students. For example, the AAF offers Minority/Disadvantaged Scholarships on the basis of academic merit, financial need, and/or minority status, as well as several study-abroad or traveling fellowships such as Sir John Sloane Museum Traveling Fellowships, Richard Morris Hunt Fellowships, and RTKL Traveling Fellowships. Some of these scholarships require projects such as a written essay or entry into a design competition.
There are also many private architecture firms or architecture-related businesses that award scholarships. For example, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLC gives a $10,000 stipend, plus a summer internship in one of the firm’s offices, to an architecture student in a fifth year or master’s degree program in an NAAB-accredited program who has a demonstrated talent and passion for architecture.
A search on the Internet will yield hundreds of websites that maintain databases of scholarships that can be searched by subject, state, and student type. High schools and colleges will also be able to provide you with much information.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013