The federal government has a wide range of grants to offer aside from the ones set aside for college students. There are government grants that are used for paving roads, improving libraries, housing, and other needs of the community. There are grants set aside to study other cultures, to improve the environment in some way, and to make historical information available to the public. A good number of government grants are awarded to researchers who conduct research on many aspects of life from education to conservation.
Many different branches of the government award grant opportunities to individuals and organizations for a variety of reasons, mostly to improve some area of life. While some grant opportunities are available for both organizations and individuals to apply for, others are open only to organizations and still others are open only to individuals.
Where To Find Information Online
Don't be fooled by websites that want to charge you for information about government grants. The best place to find information about government grants is at the federal government grant website, Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/). There are various agencies and departments within the federal government that issue grants and this website is the place where all these opportunities are located. There are approximately 1,000 grant opportunities available totaling $500 billion in awards each year.
At Grants.gov you can learn all about the various grant opportunities available, who is eligible for them, and how to apply for free federal grants online. One of the most important things you'll learn on this website is that, despite the late night infomercials, the federal government does not offer grants to individuals to help pay their debts or for any kind of personal financial assistance. In fact, only a few of the grants available on Grants.gov are available to individuals at all; most of them are for organizations and companies.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For Government Grants?
If you're an individual hoping to apply for free government grants, don't be discouraged. While most government grant opportunities are not available to individuals, some of them are and we'll look at those opportunities a little closer later in this article. For now, let's explore what other entities are eligible to apply for free government grants.
Most people don't realize this but other governmental entities apply for free federal grants online. City and state governments apply for free grants from the federal government, as do schools, tribal governments, and non-profit organizations. Organizations for profit are also eligible for federal government grants and so are small businesses. While individuals make up a small percentage of those eligible to apply for free federal grants online, individuals do benefit when certain organizations receive federal grant money. For example, those living in public housing may not realize it but when public housing authorities apply for and receive federal grants, those individuals benefit from that money just by being able to live in subsidized housing.
Grants Available To Individuals
Individuals who would like to apply for free government grants can easily learn which grant opportunities are available to them by going to the Advanced Search Page at Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/). Once there, under “Search by Eligibility,” click on Individuals. Opportunities will vary based on when you search; however, a recent search netted more than two dozen federal grant opportunities open to individuals. We'll briefly explore some of these opportunities to give you an idea of what to expect. Some of the grants available to individuals are in the form of fellowships. Fellowships offer a certain amount of money to support individuals for a period of six to twelve months while they are doing the work necessary to satisfy the grant requirements. A recent fellowship opportunity involved researching Italy's cultural heritage as it related to the cultural heritage of the United States. Those eligible for this opportunity included writers, teachers, and researchers. While no degree was required to pursue this grant opportunity, those currently in a degree program were not eligible. The monthly amount of the stipend allotment for this particular grant was $4,200 with a total grant amount of $50,400, which reflects a twelve month period. This particular grant award was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEH has other grants available as well, although the application process must go through Grants.gov.
Additional Grants to Individuals
Another example of a federally funded grant that individuals could apply for is to conduct research that would evaluate certain educational programs. Although individuals are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity, in this case, so are certain types of organizations, so individuals should be aware that they would be competing for this and certain other grant awards with entities that have far more resources than most individuals do. Other grant opportunities involve, but are not limited to, opportunities to conduct research involving conservation.
It's important to realize that most grant opportunities available through the federal government require some sort of work on the recipients' part. These grant opportunities are available in order to make some aspect of life better for others; they do not exist merely to subsidize individuals. Individuals who are artists, writers, and researchers have the best chance to apply for free government grants; however, once obtained, there is a great responsibility attached to the award. That doesn't mean that writers can get a federal grant to write the book they have always kept hidden inside. Again, the grants available from the federal government exist to make life better for others, so writers who are chosen to receive a grant award will most likely be conducting a great amount of research and writing on a topic chosen by the grant program.
The next time you see an advertisement that states that the government is giving away free grants to pay your bills or for another reason that would benefit only the individual, you will know better after learning about how it really works on Grants.gov. That being said, if your looking to apply for government grants for free, do look through the available grant opportunities to see if one fits your needs. After all, someone is going to be awarded the grant money and it might as well be you, as long as you can fulfill the requirements.