One of our readers recently asked a question about Funding. The questions are as below:
- What is the exact difference between Funding and Scholarship?
- The tuition fee waiver that is given along with the I-20, is it considered as scholarship or funding?? and is it given directly by the university or should we put a special application to avail this fee waiver?
- If there is a fee waiver given along with I-20, and we also get an assistantship, then is the funding we get through assistantship an extra fee waiver to that one already given with the I-20??
Funding, Scholarship: are they different?
It can be confusing. The simple way to think about it in general is, “Scholarship is a type of funding”, usage is a bit different, but meaning does not change. Funding is often used to indicate any sort of financial assistance that you get from the School, Government, or any research grants, etc. Typically, It can be Teaching Assistantship (TA) , Research Assistantship(RA) , Graduate Assistantship(GA) and project specific research funding. Read this article to know about: What are TA, RA and GA? . Scholarships are a way of financial assistance, but they are usually not referred to as funding, instead they are called as Scholarship because it is coming from Scholarship fund or endowment created. You can also get Research fellowships which are just called fellowships or other type of funding.
Tuition waiver along with I20 :
The tuition waiver that comes along with I20 is how much tuition you will be waived from paying and I-20 will specifically say in remarks the type of funding you got. As said above, it is just a way to finance your education and in generic terms, you can say funding or scholarship. You can see the screenshots below the article. In the screenshots, one says, Full tuition waiver of GA and give how much money you are getting form school. Other one says, Scholarship and it says how much money you are getting from school. But, the scholarship one also says, you get in-state tuition fee. That’s in fact a type of funding you get from state based on rules.
Scholarship and Assistantships (TA, GA, RA) :
Scholarships are given for your merit or any kind of specific requirements as specified by that particular scholarship committee. If you get a scholarship or fellowship, you do not need to do any work. It is just like prize money for your achievement ( there are some exceptions to scholarships for US citizens where they have to work for volunteering, but for internationals very few of those). But, funding like TA, RA, GA you will have to work for 20 hrs a week for the project, teaching, or research. The deadlines for scholarships are different from the admission deadlines and they are usually before the admission deadlines. Read this article: F1 Application – Scholarship deadlines Vs Admission Deadlines? How to Plan your Application
Can I get TA, RA and GA if I have scholarship?
If you get scholarship, you can still apply for TA, RA and GA and get extra funding. It will be just like job. But, if your scholarship is giving you enough money and gives you tuition waiver, then you should not take the GA, RA or TA because you are taking away the tuition waiver of other student. It is just ethical to hold one either the scholarship or one of TA,GA, RA. Because either of these options give tuition waiver to some extent or full waiver. In some states, TA, RA and GA will only give you in-state only. Read article : In-state vs Out-of-state tuition for more info on the types of tuition. Also, in some states scholarship will only give in-state tuition as in below screenshot of I20. In these cases, you cannot mix scholarship and TA, GA or RA and get full waiver. It is not allowed. This is kind of situation as asked above in number 3.
Coming back to question 2 , “is fee waiver given directly by the university or should we put a special application to avail this fee waiver”
For Scholarship, you will have to apply separately. Typically, for most of the funding you will have to apply separately. It varies by University and you will have to work with the Department for this. For Scholarships, you will have to work with Financial Aid office. It does not happen often, occasionally, you may get funding GA or RA if the professor thinks you have enough research background or credentials, but does not happen often. Ideally, you will have to work with the professors and Departments for TA, GA or RA or any sort of funding.
Sample I20 with Scholarship and Funding: GA
Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgw/3435269871/