What Is A Grant?

While the scope of this article is concerned only with federal or government grants, essentially, a grant is a financial award that does not have to be paid back. As such, it is not a loan, and although it comes from the Federal Government, it is not considered governmental assistance. Rather, grants are awarded to those who perform specific tasks that the government supports.

These tasks, or works, usually benefit the public in some way. Most people are familiar with the kind of grants that college students get in order to go to school, but not everyone is familiar with the other types of grants the Federal Government has to offer. In the following paragraphs, we'll look at the types of grants the government offers and how to apply for free grants.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For Free Grants?

Contrary to the hype propagated on late night infomercials, most government grants are not bestowed on individuals. Instead, most governmental grants are awarded to other governmental organizations, educational organizations, public housing organizations, non-profit and for profit organizations, and businesses. However, free government grants do exist for individuals, and we'll look at those as well as how to apply for government grants for free.

Again, realize that the awarding of grants has to do with the public good, not personal financial assistance. In most cases, in order to receive a grant from the Federal Government, you must perform some sort of work that will lead to the greater public good or well-being. In most cases, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States in order to apply for free grants

Types Of Grants

Individuals can find a full listing of available grants by searching the federal grant database at http://www.grants.gov. This list changes often as closing dates pass and also when new grant opportunities become available, so if you are interested in learning how to apply for free federal grants online, this is absolutely the best resource to go to. In addition, be aware of websites that ask you to pay for this information, because you can get all this information free on the government website. Now, we'll look at some examples of the types of grants individuals can apply for at the above website.

The National Endowment for the Arts awards grants to organizations and individuals as a way to promote the arts. Some of the grants they offer have to do with creative writing. The creative writing may be in the form of fiction, non-fiction, short stories, novels, prose, or poetry. To see a specific example of a federal grant for creative writing, visit http://www.arts.gov/grants/apply/Lit/index.html. This link will take you to the website of the National Endowment for the Arts and to the specific page where a literary fellowship announcement is made. You'll also receive specific instructions on applicant eligibility, as well as instructions on how to apply for this particular grant.

The above is just one example of the types of grants the Federal Government offers to individuals, so if you're not a creative writer, don't worry. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to take advantage and apply for free federal grants online. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission offers another type of government grant. The announcement and specific information for this grant can be accessed by following this link: http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/announcement/publishing.html. In short, this grant is awarded to those who will compile historical documents, so there is no writing involved. While there are several aspects of this particular grant, one aspect of it involves converting historical documents to electronic form so they can be accessed online.

Other types of federal grants include those that have to do with agriculture, research, conservation, and other aspects of the environment. Most grant opportunities offer thousands of dollars to recipients who are chosen to complete the required work or research. While there is tremendous competition for federal grant opportunities, those who have the talent or skill to perform the required work are encouraged to apply. Next, we'll take a look at how you can apply for government grants for free.

How To Apply For Government Grants

As you can see, you don't need to pay anyone to find out about government grant opportunities, as they are freely available online for anyone to access, along with full instructions on how to apply. There is detailed information about how to apply for government grants here: http://www07.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp. In addition, once you have found the grant opportunity you are interested in, you will be able to click on a link that takes you to the awarding organization that provides full information. However, you will still need to register at http://www.grants.gov and follow all the instructions there. You will be able to download an entire grant application package, complete the application offline, and then log back on to the site to submit the application.

This is not a ten minute process by any means, and you do not want to hurry through the grant application process. Remember, there is a good amount of competition for these grants, and you want your application to stand out. You will want to follow all instructions exactly. For example, if you locate a grant on grants.gov that is being sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, you may be able to go to the Arts website to view the announcement and to learn more about the opportunity, but you will still need to apply for the grant through the grants.gov website. In addition to an extensive website that fully explains everything you need to know to apply for government grants for free, there is a help desk available to those applying for government grants that is staffed to assist you. The following link will take you to the page that provides the hours and the telephone number for the help desk should you need it. http://www07.grants.gov/contactus/contactus.jsp. Good luck as you pursue your goal of winning a federal grant!

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