Types of Scholarships in India

Students and parents are on a constant lookout for scholarships in India. Every child looks for scholarship websites or fills a scholarship application offline at some point in time. However, scholarships in India are less and available only to those who score a high percentage in academics. As a result, most applicants do not receive any scholarships due to the tough competition. Another reason behind this is missing deadlines. The majority of the students are not aware of the types of scholarships available for them. Even if they are aware, the information lacks details about the features of the scholarship programme, where they can apply, and the best time to apply for scholarships

This blog covers the various types of scholarships in India, answering all your queries. 


Bursting the Myths

Numerous misconceptions about scholarships limit the students and refrain them from trying their hand at getting scholarships in India. Such myths arise from the incomplete information the students possess about Indian scholarships and the scholarship application process. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about scholarships in India: 

  • The first and the most widespread misconception is that scholarships in India are only available to the underprivileged sections. These sections include the economically weaker and socially backwards sections of the society. However, it is not the truth. Scholarships in India are available to all students irrespective of their social, economic, or religious background.

  • Another similar myth about Indian scholarships is that only studious students can apply for scholarships. On the contrary, scholarships as financial aid are available to all students irrespective of their ranks. Although some merit-based scholarships have merit or ranking as eligibility criteria, many others do not require so.

  • Amongst the various myths about scholarships in India, one of the most stupid ones relates to the application process. Students often assume that the scholarship application process is tedious and the amount is not worth the effort. However, it is not the case. Even the smallest scholarship amount can help students in many ways. Besides, technological advances give us the privilege to do nearly anything from the comfort of our homes. Anyone can apply for a scholarship through any of the scholarship websites without having to go out. 

  • Another crucial concern about scholarships in India is the number of scholarships available to students. It is a common disbelief that a student can only apply for a single scholarship at once. But the fact is that there are no limitations on the number of scholarship applications a student can submit. 


Now that you are familiar with the common misconceptions about scholarships in India, we can proceed further. Let’s have a glance at the various types of scholarships available for Indian students. 

Scholarships can be of various types depending upon the criteria for categorization. Some of the common ones are as follows: 


Scholarships in India categorized by Beneficiary and Purpose 

1. Merit-Based Scholarships: 

Merit-based scholarships in India are available for students displaying exceptional performance in academics. The motive of providing such scholarships is to help rank achievers fulfil their career aspirations. Also, merit-based scholarships in India work to encourage students to pursue higher studies. 

Some crucial Merit-Based Scholarships available in India are:

  • INSPIRE Scholarship-Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) 

  • NTSE Scholarship

  • KVPY- Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana 

  • Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship

  • UGC Merit Scholarship- Post Graduate Merit Scholarship for University Rank Holders PG Scholarships for Professional Courses


2. Means-Based Scholarships:

This type of student scholarship is for the students who fail to afford the cost of education or belong to certain socio-economically backward sections of society. Ergo, the annual income of the family is a determining factor to be eligible to get this scholarship.

Here are some of the Means-Based Scholarships:

  • Pre-Matric and Post matric Scholarships for Minorities provided by Government of India for religious minorities

  • Financial Assistance for Education of the Wards of Beedi/Cine/IOMC/LSDM Workers, Pre-matric for students of grade 1 to 10


3. Merit cum Means-Based Scholarships:

As the name suggests, Merit cum Means-Based Scholarships in India consider merit with financial needs for scholarship disbursement.  This type of scholarship supports children belonging to various minority groups. Meritorious students from different minority communities are eligible to avail such scholarships. Students can take the scholarship tests and compete with other students to achieve the best score and get a scholarship.

The following scholarships fall under the category of merit-cum-means-based scholarships.


  • Merit Cum Means Scholarship for Professional and Technical Courses CS (Minorities) provided by Ministry of Minority, Government of India

  • National Means cum Merit Scholarship provided by Department of School Education 

  • Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University students provided by Department of Higher Education, Government of India


4. Talent-Based Scholarships:

Children are born artists. Not all of them are good in academics but possess some specific talents that make them stand out from the rest. However, such talent often gets less or no recognition. Therefore, to promote such wizards, many government and private institutions offer talent-based scholarships. Whether a child is an artist, dancer, musician or possesses any other talent, the child can apply for this scholarship. 

Here is a small list of talent-based scholarships in India:

  • National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievement

  • Madhobi Chatterji Memorial Fellowship

  • Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme

  • GEMS Genius Scholarship


5. Women Scholarships in India

In India, gender discrimination is one of the oldest forms of discrimination existing in various parts of India. The unavailability of equal opportunities, particularly educational rights for women, is a common phenomenon. Although women play a significant role in society just as men do, there is comparatively less emphasis on educating women. Ergo, there is a dire need to promote women’s education for the upliftment of society. Therefore, many government and private organizations come up with merit-based as well as need-based scholarships for women. There are numerous scholarships in India focusing on reducing the school dropout rates of women. 


The following scholarships in India are available exclusively for women: 

  • Dr Reddy’s Foundation Sashakt Scholarship

  • Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship Scheme for Minorities Girls

  • SOF Girl Child Scholarship Scheme (G.C.S.S)

  • Kalpana Chawla Memorial Award


Other Types of Scholarships in India

Apart from the classification above,  scholarships in India also relate to the organizations/institutions offering them. Take a look at the division below.


1. Government scholarships:

The Central and State Governments provide such scholarships to students belonging to socially and economically weaker sections. Such scholarships focus on creating equal access to education for all and, thus, are available in large numbers. Another aim of such scholarships in India is to address the socio-economic backward sections of the society to create equal opportunities for all. The National Scholarship portal contains all the information about the scholarships that the Government of India offers. 


2. Private Scholarships:

Private Scholarships refer to the scholarship opportunities that private institutions offer for students in India. It may also include the various scholarship websites where students have to attempt scholarship tests as they apply for scholarships. Such scholarships often act as a bridge to eliminate the gap between academic and industrial knowledge. It means that they are beneficial for students looking forward to pursuing a career in a particular field or industry.


3. Community-Based Scholarships:

Many communities also offer scholarships for Indian students. Such communities might be religious or caste communities or any other such community looking forward to encouraging students. Not only such communities but also local organizations such as the Resident Welfare Association offer scholarships to students. The community-based scholarships in India usually focus on building better community relations and fostering a sense of brotherhood. Eventually, it leads the development of the community and contributes to the success of its members.


4. School/College Scholarships:

Several schools and colleges provide scholarships to their students as a reward to the meritorious and well-performing students. The scholarships thus available have strict terms and stick to grade requirements. Only students fulfilling the eligibility criteria for the scholarship can avail such scholarships. In essence, the scholarships that schools or colleges offer mainly work to encourage students to perform better in a competitive learning environment. 


Micro scholarships in India

The term micro-scholarships signifies micro incentives as scholarships to the students fulfilling the eligibility criteria. Unlike other scholarships in India, micro-scholarships aim to encourage students to succeed by recognizing every small effort through rewards. Although the concept of micro-scholarships is comparatively new, it can be an effective way of promoting learning.  

Micro-scholarship disbursement depends on the score of each student in regular online assessments. The maximum scoring students get micro-scholarships as rewards for their efforts in learning. 

Auro Scholar is the world’s 1st micro-scholarship programme working to incentivize learning for students in India. Students can take 10-minutes in-app quizzes and get micro-scholarships up to INR 1000 per month.
We hope this article will help clear all the doubts regarding the types of scholarships in India.