Different Types of Scholarship Programmes in India: A Comprehensive Insight

Different Types of Scholarship Programmes in India – India has made significant progress in enhancing the accessibility and availability of quality of education. This is quite evident in the rise in elementary school enrollment and the decline in the number of out-of-school children. These advancements have been supported by progressive legislation and initiatives such as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act (2009) and the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy (2013). However,  despite these initiatives challenges continue to persist. According to a report released by UNICEF, the number of out-of-school children decreased from 13.46 million in 2006 to an estimated 6.1 million in 2014. A significant portion of marginalised children, approximately 29% of both girls and boys, still drop out before completing elementary education. Additionally, nearly half of adolescents fail to complete secondary education, and approximately 20 million children lack access to pre-school education. According to the National Achievement Survey conducted by NCERT in 2017, half of primary school-going children constituting nearly 50 million children are not achieving grade-appropriate learning levels.

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Against such a scenario government and private entities have come together to extend a helping hand. In order to promote education and offer financial aid, both public and private organisations have introduced different types of scholarships in India. 

From merit-based to STEM programmes, minority to women-centric and music to sports, there are numerous types of scholarship programmes that have been classified into different categories. This article will provide a comprehensive insight into millions of students as far as different types of scholarship schemes offering several opportunities and benefits are concerned.

Different Types of Scholarships Programmes in India

The scholarship programmes are offered with the objective of providing financial assistance to multiple target groups and categories of applicants. It focuses on offering assistance to students pursuing their education and aspiring to achieve their academic goals. Some of the relevant categories of different types of scholarship programmes in India and the list of opportunities they offer are as under:

1. Need-based Scholarship Programmes

The need-based scholarship programs are also referred to as means-based scholarships. The scholarship benefits are disbursed on the basis of financial need of the applicants. These opportunities aim to help students hailing from low-income backgrounds. These scholarship programmes cover a significant portion of tuition fees and other educational expenses.

Some of the need-based scholarship programmes available for students in India are listed below: 

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Please click here to visit the list of Need-based Scholarships in India. 

2. Merit-based Scholarship Programmes

Merit-based scholarship programmes are provided to exceptional students on the basis of their qualities or achievements in academics, sports, art, and other fields.

Some of the merit-based scholarship programmes available for students in India are as follows: 

Please click here to visit the list of Merit-based Scholarships in India. 

3. Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Programmes

Merit-cum-Means scholarship programmes are provided to students on the basis of their academic merit and their financial need. These scholarship programmes are offered by the Government of India to support economically disadvantaged and talented students pursuing their higher education. These scholarship programmes may also be specially designed to assist students from minority communities, such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jains.

Some of the Merit-cum-Means scholarship programmes available for students in India are as follows: 

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Also Read, MCM Scholarship – Know All About Merit-cum-Means Scholarship

4. Music Scholarship Programmes

The music scholarship programmes include financial assistance, awards, and certificates to students who have demonstrated exceptional talent in the field of music. These scholarship programmes are provided by educational institutions, music schools, foundations, or public/private organisations to support and encourage talented musicians for higher education and professional development.

Some of the music scholarship programmes available for students in India are as listed below: 

Also Read:- Music Scholarships for Students in India – Details

5. Sports Scholarship Programmes

Sports scholarship programmes are a specific form of assistance or grants meant for talented athletes to pursue their higher education while also allowing themselves to participate in competitive sports at the regional/national/international level. These scholarships are provided by the government or private schools, colleges, universities, or private organisations with the aim of promoting skilled athletes.

Some of the sports scholarship programmes available for students in India are as follows:

Please click here to visit the list of sports scholarships in India.

6. Scholarship Programmes for Women/Female 

The scholarship programmes dedicated to female students aim to extend support to them in pursuit of their higher studies. The aim of such scholarship is to promote women’s empowerment and provide equal opportunities in the fields of education, sports, arts, etc. 

Some of the sports scholarship programmes offering support to the girl students in India in pursuit of their higher education are listed below:

Also Read:- Scholarships For Girls & Women 2023 in India – Eligibility, Award, Dates

7. STEM Scholarship Programmes 

STEM scholarships are available for students who want to pursue their studies in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The deserving students are offered scholarship assistance by various organisations, institutions, governments, corporations, and foundations. 

The list of some of the STEM scholarship programmes available toIndian students are as follows.

Also Read:- Top Scholarships for Students in STEM – Eligibility Criteria, Benefits & More

8. Scholarship Programmes for Military Personnel and Veterans 

The scholarship programmes dedicated to military personnel and veterans are specifically designed to support the children/wives of individuals who have served in the Indian army or paramilitary forces. These scholarship programmes also recognise the sacrifices and contributions of veterans and extend help and support to their children pursuing higher education.

The list of some of the scholarships programmes meant for Indian military personnel and veterans are as follows:

9. Minority Scholarship Programmes 

Minority scholarship programmes are mainly designed to support students from minority communities in India viz. Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi, Jain, and Christian. These scholarships aim to extend financial support to the students of the minority communities for pursuing their basic and higher education. 

Some of the minority scholarship programmes available for Indian students are as follows:

Also Read:- Top Minority Scholarships in India.

10. First-Generation Scholarship Programmes 

The first-generation scholarship programmes are specifically designed to extend support to those students who belong to the first generation in their family to attend a college or university. These scholarships address the unique challenges that first-generation students often face while pursuing higher education due to lack of knowledge, financial limitations, language barriers, and inadequate access to resources for studies.

The list of some of the first-generation scholarship programmes available to Indian students are as follows:

Also Read:- Scholarships for First-Generation College Students.

11. International Scholarships Programmes 

The international scholarship programmes are provided by both public and private organisations to support Indian students in their pursuit of education overseas. These scholarship programmes cover costs incurred on tuition fees, living expenses, and travelling including research-related expenditures. The major objective of such scholarship programmes is to allow individuals to gain access to education and training opportunities available overseas.

The list of some of the international scholarship programmes available to Indian students is as follows:

The list of some of the international scholarship programmes offering grants the Indian students is as follows:

Note:- Please click here to check the list of international scholarships for Indian students. 

12. Graduate and Postgraduate Scholarship Programmes 

These scholarship programmes are specifically designed to support students who want to pursue their graduate or postgraduate studies. These scholarships are offered to help students cover the costs associated with their higher education and research programmes. Additionally, graduate scholarships can vary in terms of funding support, eligibility criteria, fields of study, and application requirements.

The list of some international scholarship programmes for graduate or postgraduate studies available to Indian students is as follows:

Note:- Please click here to check the list of post graduate scholarships in India. 

Please click here to check the list of graduate scholarships in India. 

13. Government Scholarship Programmes

Government scholarship programmes are provided by government agencies or departments to support individuals in completing their studies in school or university, pursuing a Ph.D., or other general/professional level studies. To cater to the financial needs of students, the government offers various scholarship programmes to Indian students. 

List of government scholarship programmes that are available to students are as follows:

Note:- Please click here, to check the list of government scholarships in India.  


Are means-based and need-based scholarship programmes the same?

Ans. Yes, both are the same, means-based and need-based scholarships offer financial support to needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete their studies. 

Who can apply for minority scholarship programmes?

Ans. Students from minority communities such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jains are eligible to apply under these scholarship programmes.

Can a student from the Scheduled Caste community apply for a minority scholarship? 

Ans. No, students from the Scheduled Caste (SC) category are not eligible to apply for minority scholarships. 

Which governmental department offers scholarship programmes?

Ans. There are several ministries and departments that offer scholarship schemes. For example, the Ministry of Education and its departments, the Ministry of minority affairs and its departments including the ministries and departments under the state government offer state-based scholarship programmes. 

Who can avail of the benefits under the scholarship programmes meant for the army and military personnel?

Ans. Students whose parent/spouse have served in the Indian army or paramilitary forces can apply under the scholarship programmes meant for the army and military personnel. The eligibility criteria are generally mentioned for the dedicated category of applicants.

What are the different types of scholarships available in India?

Ans. Scholarship programmes in India can be categorised into various types on the basis of criteria such as merit, need, specific fields of study, demographics, and more.

Are international students also eligible to apply for different types of scholarship programmes available in India?

Ans.  There are many scholarship programmes targeted at students located overseas. It all depends on the eligibility criteria. 

How can an interested applicant apply for different types of scholarship programmes in India?

Ans. Eligible students can apply for different types of scholarship programmes in India through the official website of scholarship providers. Please refer to the details mentioned above in the article for more information with regard to the online application link for each scholarship. 


  1. Source of Information: Buddy4Study app compiles details on scholarships/fellowships from government websites and private scholarship sources. Links to the official sources accompany each listing detail pages.
  2. Non-affiliation: The Buddy4Study app is not associated with any government entity in India or elsewhere. When featuring government scholarships, we rely on publicly accessible information from central and state government websites in India.

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