Free Money from the Government
The federal government does not offer grants or “free money” to individuals to start a business or cover personal expenses, contrary to what you might see online or in the media. Websites or other publications claiming to offer "free money from the government" are often scams. Report them to the Federal Trade Commission.
The government does offer federal benefit programs designed to help individuals and families in need become self-sufficient or lower their expenses.
Learn about federal government grants, who qualifies, and how to get them.
What is a grant from the government?
A grant is one of the ways the government funds ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs. You can find a list of projects supported by grants in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). You can also learn about the federal grant process and search for government grants at Grants.gov.
Who can get a grant?
The federal government awards grants to organizations including:
The intent of most grants is to fund projects that will benefit specific parts of the population or the community as a whole. What you might see about grants online or in the media may not be true. The federal government does not offer grants or “free money” to individuals to start a business or cover personal expenses. For personal financial assistance, the government offers federal benefit programs. These programs help individuals and families become financially self-sufficient or lower their expenses.
Search and Apply for Government Grants
To search or apply for grants, use the free, official website, Grants.gov. Commercial sites may charge a fee for grant information or application forms. Grants.gov centralizes information from more than 1,000 government grant programs. It's designed to help states and organizations find and apply for grants.
"Free" Grants and Grant Scams
If you receive information stating you qualify for a "free grant," it's probably a scam. Get information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so you can better recognize and avoid grant scams. 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.
Learn about the types of federal loans, how to find them, and how to qualify.
What is a loan from the federal government?
Government loans serve a specific purpose such as paying for education, helping with housing or business needs, or responding to an emergency or crisis.
Loans are different than grants because recipients are required to repay loans, often with interest.
Examples of Government Loans
The federal government offers several types of loans, including:
Search for Government Loans
Use the federal government’s free, official website, GovLoans.gov, rather than commercial sites that may charge a fee for information or application forms.
GovLoans.gov directs you to information on loans for agriculture, business, disaster relief, education, housing, and for veterans.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
Last Updated: April 13, 2021