Applying for Free Grant Money

Aparna Iyer Feb 8, 2019
Many government as well as private organizations offer various grants for needy people in education, health, and many other domains. Such programs are both need-based and merit-based.
A grant is a financial assistance provided to people to support a particular cause. It can be need-based and merit-based. In the US, there are 26 Federal agencies that offer over 1,000 grant programs annually in various categories. These are:
  • Agriculture
  • Business and Commerce
  • Community Development
  • Disaster Prevention and Relief
  • Education, Employment
  • Labor and Training
  • Arts, Energy
  • Environmental Quality
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Humanities
  • Information and Statistics
  • Law
  • Justice and Legal Services
  • Natural Resources
  • Recovery Act
  • Regional Development
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Services and Income
  • Security and Transportation

In addition to Federal grants, there are numerous private entities that also provide assistance.

Availability of Federal Grants

It would behoove the readers to note that, although there are numerous federal programs, very few of them are available to individuals. Moreover, they are not provided for personal financial assistance.
Typically, federal grants are made available to the following entities:
  • Government Organizations
  • Educational Associations and Organizations
  • Public Housing Organizations
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Small Businesses.
Generally, they are available to non-profit organizations and are for non-commercial purposes. Some are provided for the purpose of aiding community development and for conducting research in the field of health and medicine, science & technology, and environment; and for promoting arts, humanities, and education.
Small Business Innovative Research Grants were instituted in accordance with the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. They are awarded for research and development in environment, defense, healthcare, and information management.
Student grants are the most readily available federal grants. Students have the option of applying for the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Both these programs are need-based. Apart from these programs, many private organization also support students' education.

How to Apply for Grant Money

Applying for college grants is easy, since students have to fill out free grant money applications, better known as FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application is available at the high school guidance office, or people may choose to complete the process online by visiting the FAFSA or Student Aid website.
As far as other programs are concerned, individuals and aforementioned entities may visit the grants.gov website to complete the application. This website was established as a part of the President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda to improve government services to the public.
People have access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards, and by registering just once, they can apply for grants provided by the 26 federal grant disbursing agencies. The registration process takes 3-5 days and people have the facility of checking the status of their applications online.
In addition to applying for government programs, people have the option of applying for private grants, the procedure for which varies depending upon the disburser.
Grantees must take adequate care and present a convincing case while drafting or filling out grant money applications. Individuals and institutions can try approaching non-profit entities such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GE Foundation, etc. for further details.
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