Government Grants – How to Get Government Grants

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While you may not be aware of how all encompassing government grants are, they play a vital role in our society.

They help grow our economy by providing college education to prospective students who otherwise may not attend, but that’s not all.

Government grants are also used for particular projects to develop solutions that make our society a better place to live.

Here’s the breakdown:

What Are Government Grants?

Government grants involve donated money given to the government to help meet certain goals or money obtained from passing laws that allow for funding to be obtained through the federal budget.

The government provides this money to individuals and organizations that apply for the grants, who need funding for a specific project or program. Because the grants are given only for specific needs, they may not pay for ongoing expenses, and may not be enough to cover the total cost of a project or program.

While the money received through a grant may be free, it does not necessarily come without obligations. Each applicant who receives a grant will be responsible for maintaining certain expectations outlined in the grant application.

If the obligations are not met by the grant receiver, the grant money may be withdrawn and in some instances the receiver may be asked to repay the money that has been spent.

Types of Government Grants

Every year, our U.S. government awards billions of dollars to government agencies, institutions, small business, and individuals through grants. Grants are divided or categorized by the following types of grants:

  • Block Grants – Block grants are distributed to individuals who meet pre-existing requirements, such as income or race. There are many eligible activities associated with block grants, and they are typically used as funding for general and broad purposed programs, such as public health and community development.
  • Project Grants – Project grants are used to fund specific projects over a fixed period of time. The process for applying for these grants is generally highly competitive. One type of project grant program that can be seen as an example would be the U.S. Department of Justice project called the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. This program provides funding for states over a certain period of time for assessment and service for those who have committed a crime and been diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • Formula Grants – Like block grants, formula grants are given based on pre-existing criteria. This type of grant however, is non-competitive. Anyone meeting the basic requirements who applies will be eligible for grant money from the government.
  • Categorical Grants – Categorical grants only allow for a specific range of activities and are provided through a pre-determined formula. They may also be distributed to organizations who do meet the required formula, at the discretion of the U.S. government.
  • Earmark Grants – Earmark grants are provided by lawmakers who state a specific project or program in the federal budget. The funds are essentially “earmarked” for those who are willing to apply for the grant.

How to Find and Apply for Government Grants

Most of us have seen the cheesy advertisements for books and even video tutorials on “How to Find Free Government Grants.” These offers usually come with a hefty price tag, but in reality, they don’t provide much useful information.

Government grant information is readily available (and free), so you don’t need to purchase a book to view the different grants available.

Here’s how it works:

Once the budget for the federal government is approved, grant projects become available to the public and are announced by the government through the Federal Register.

Grants can appear throughout the year in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, or CFDA. This listing of grants provides information on how to apply for each grant, who is eligible for grants, and how each grant is allowed to be used.

Weekly reports of new grant programs can be found in the Weekly Federal Funding Report. This report is provided by the House of Representatives.

Once you locate the grant you are interested in, you’ll contact the appropriate government agency to request an application. Grant applications will require you to be extremely thorough, often requesting details such as your full business plan, financial records, details of how funds will be used, and proof of all qualifications.

Whether you are looking for government grants for college, a business start-up, or other assistance, take the time to look on the government websites provided. While finding the right grant may be a bit of a challenge, the assistance received will be well worth the effort.

For more information on government grants and scholarships, continue to follow our website.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Treva April 3, 2012 at 4:57 am

When I first heard about government grants, I started thinking, “How can I get some of this Free Grants Money”. For many years, I thought it was impossible to get free money. Let me tell you it’s not impossible! It’s a fact, ordinary people and businesses all across the United States are receiving millions of dollars from these Government and Private Foundation’s everyday. All it takes is a bit of faith and patience and diligence.


Loretta April 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

One of the biggest questions I have regarding grants is what sort of criteria would cause a grant to be rescinded. I would like to read about an example of the type of criteria that a certain kind of grant would stipulate in the application so that I can have a more clear idea of what types of projects I could start and then apply for. Without a clear idea about this, it’s hard to get excited about searching for a grant.


Leah April 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Government grants don’t have to be paid back is that right? Or do they not get paid back until you graduate or how exactly does that work? I was told that you don’t have to pay them back but that was a long time ago. Thank you for showing us how to go about getting a grant regardless I think this is going to be a very helpful article.


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