Government Grants and Loans

Learn about government grants and loans for states and organizations. For help for individuals, please visit our Benefits page.

Government Grants and Loans for Individuals

Many people look to the government to find out how to apply for a grant or to get "free money," which they have seen advertised on television or in various publications. Federal grants are awards of financial assistance to an individual and/or organization. Grants are used to carry out a government authorized purpose, and are not provided as personal benefits from the government or assistance. Grants are typically awarded to universities, researchers, law enforcement, cities, states, counties, and non-profit organizations. Loans are different than grants because they are awarded to an individual as a personal benefit or assistance. You are required to pay back a loan, often with interest.

Search the following resources:

  • helps individuals looking for government loans. It directs you to information on loans for agriculture, business, disaster relief, education, housing, and veterans.
  • Grant Writing: helps individuals with what to do before you starting your grant proposal. 
  • helps states and organizations looking for grants.
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories  of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.

"Free" Grants and Grant Scams

All of the websites we reference are government sites. They are not affiliated in any way with commercial websites that offer grant information, and often for a fee. If you have received information stating you qualify for a "free grant," view the consumer alert on free grants from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If you have been a victim of a grant scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC.

Contact your state consumer protection office if you have purchased a book or paid a fee to get grant information and are not satisfied.

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Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA)

Learn About Federal Student Aid

To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Federal student financial aid can be used at

  • Public or private colleges and universities

  • Career or vocational schools

Many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

Financial aid can significantly reduce the cost of college.

How to Apply for Federal Student Aid

  1. Read the basic eligibility criteria for U.S. citizens. Most foreign students are not eligible for federal student aid; however, some non-US citizens may qualify for student aid. Get more resources for foreign students who want to study in the US.

  2. Confirm the deadlines before submitting your FAFSA. There are separate federal and state deadlines.

  3. Fill out and submit your FAFSA. See your filing options.

Read commonly asked questions about federal student aid.

Send your feedback. File a complaint, report suspicious activity, or provide positive feedback using the online form.

Types of Federal Student Aid

When you submit your FAFSA, you may be eligible to receive the following types of funding:

If you have questions, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

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Government Grants and Loans for States and Organizations

Many people look to the government hoping to find out how to apply for a grant or to get "free money." Most grants are awarded to universities, researchers, cities, states, counties, and non-profit organizations, which then use the money to operate local aid programs.

If you work for a state or private organization and are interested in grants, you may find the following resources helpful:

There are several types of grants available for states and organizations, such as:

Other resources for states and organizations include:

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Help with Home Repairs and Modifications

Want to add an addition onto your home? Renovate your bathroom or basement? Learn about programs to help pay for your home improvements, as well as tips on hiring a contractor to do the work. 

Find Loans and Other Incentives

The most common type of financial help from the government for home repairs or modifications is through home improvement loan programs backed by the government. The loans are through traditional lenders, like banks, but the programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Some programs are available on a nationwide basis, while others are only on a state or county level. To learn about the options available to you, contact your local Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office.

You can also contact your local, state, or county government housing department.

Find out about loans and other incentives for energy efficient modifications in your state.

Assistance for Certain Demographic Groups

Learn about housing programs for the following groups:

Modifying and Repairing Your Home

Finding a good contractor to do repairs and improvements on your home is important. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides resources and tips on hiring a contractor, questions to ask, and how to report problems. 

Before digging on your property, call 811 to be sure you won't damage or be injured by underground utility lines. Some states allow for an online digging request. Timing is different from state to state with some needing two business days in advance and others need as many as 12 working days even if it is just a small project like planting trees or shrubs.

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Do you need help?

Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free. We'll get you the answer, or we'll tell you where to find it.

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