Government grants provide funds for a specific purpose including starting a business, paying for childcare, or getting an education.
The government doesn’t just take our money – they offer money in the form of assistance to certain people too. Getting help with utility bills, going back to school, starting a business, or making energy-efficient changes are just a few of the reasons you may be eligible for a government grant.
Applying for and getting government funding can seem overwhelming simply because there are so many types of funding and program types. With the right help, though, you too can get yourself a grant to fund your next best idea or your immediate need.
What are Government Grants?
Government grants are money that the government awards to people of certain demographics. You must apply for the grant, and the appropriate agency will determine if you qualify. Government grants are meant to help increase your quality of life whether in helping you pay off debt, pay for college, or start a business. Grants are legitimate sources of funds that the government uses to help certain people on an as-needed basis.
Unlike loans, you don’t have to repay government grants. If you are awarded funds, you keep the entire award, using it as the grant was intended. The government provides grants in order to stimulate the economy and help individuals meet their goals.
How to Apply and Who Qualifies for Grants?
The easiest and most secure way to apply for government grants is online through Grants.gov. You’ll find information for more than 1,000 grants on this website, all free of charge. If you find a grant that suits your needs, you can check the qualifications and apply for the grant online. Each grant has different qualifying requirements.
Types of Government Grants
There are many types of grants available, but a few key ones include:
Educational Grants – The Federal Pell Grant is the most common educational grant, which provides additional funds after you exhaust your other federal assistance options. The Federal Pell Grant provides up to $6,345* per year for eligible applicants. There are also lots of other grants for students based on location, need, potential careers, and special talents.
Remote Worker Grant Program - Vermont will pay you $10,000 to move to Vermont and work remotely for your company out of state. The program will reward up to 100 applicants during its first three years and then 20 more workers in the following years. Recipients receive $5,000 a year for two years with this grant.
Solar Panel Grant - The government encourages the use of solar panels and renewable energy by providing grants to low-income, rural, tribes, schools, and non-profit corporations. The Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers an exhaustive list of all solar panel grants.
Housing Grant for Disabled Veterans – Veterans with disabilities resulting from their time in the service can receive money to buy or renovate an adaptive home. The Specially Adapted Housing Grant and the Special Housing Adaption Grant both provide funds for this purpose.
FHA Down Payment Grants – Each state offers down payment assistance programs in the form of a grant. If you don’t have the money to put down on a home, it’s worth checking with your state’s HUD department to see if you qualify for down payment assistance. For example, the City of Pine Bluff Down Payment Grant helps low-income families in Arizona buy an owner-occupied home by helping with down payments and closing costs.
Childcare and Development Fund – The US Department of Health and Human Services helps low-income families cover the cost of childcare so they can work. The amount you receive is need-based and helps cover the cost of childcare for children ages 13 and under. The Child Care and Development Block Grant helps subsidize the cost of childcare, helping low-income families get quality child care assistance
Low Income Energy Assistance Program – If you struggle to pay your utilities, check out the Low Income Energy Assistance Program that offers money through the state to help low-income families cover these bills. With utility bills averaging $300, it’s easy to see why many may need help with this crucial expense.
Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program – This program offers both loans and grants. You don’t have to repay the grant, but would have to repay the loan. The grant helps low-income families repair or renovate a rural home that is otherwise unsafe or outdated.
Watch out for Scams
When you search for ‘free money from the government’ you are likely to come across scams. Before you give any information or proceed with the application process, ensure that the grant is real. Consult with a government agency to find out the legitimacy of the program. If the website doesn’t have a website address ending in .gov, be very careful.
Also, watch out for these signs:
- The ‘agency’ contacts you for ‘free money.’ No government agency will reach out to you for a grant. You have to seek them out.
- If they ask for money from you, it’s not real. They will make it sound like for a ‘small fee’ you can get this amazing grant. It’s not true.
- If they tell you there is no application, don’t do it. There is always an application process with any government grant.
- If they tell you that you ‘won’ a government grant and can use it how you want. Again, this isn’t true. Each grant has a purpose and way that you must spend the funds in order to qualify.
Government grants provide assistance to those who are in need. Whether you need to fix up your house, pay for basic living expenses, pay for childcare, or pursue an education, there are grants available today. Check with your local, state, and federal government to exhaust all options when looking for grants to help you supplement your ideas and needs. Chances are that there’s a grant for that.