Government grants can help lower your monthly expenses by covering certain costs that cause a strain on many low-income families.
These costs include housing, education and communication. To learn more about the different grants available and how you can apply to them, continue reading the sections below.
What government grants are available?
Government grants are available to both individuals and organizations for the purpose of financing public services and advancements. Students with financial need may receive grants to help further their education, and universities that need research funding can receive grants to support their staff and research programs.
Individuals in need of financial assistance to help support their family and way of life can receive government grants to help pay for housing, telephone access and education to improve their skills and make them eligible for better paying jobs.
Grants help improve an individual’s and an organization’s positive affect society by helping fund their advancement.
Grants are funded by government organizations with a set amount of funds to distribute per year. Grants are often based on need and other eligibility criteria and may be competitive.
It is important to understand all the requirements of each grant and research the organization providing the funding before you apply. Grants are an option to consider before you consider loans, as they do not have to be repaid. Grants will differ in their requirements based on the type and purpose.
However, if you are found to be in violation of grant terms and conditions, you will be responsible for repaying grant funds.
Who is eligible for government grants?
Government grants are available to individuals that demonstrate a financial need. Because Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients also receive benefits based on financial need, applicants already receiving government assistance have a good chance of also qualifying for government grants.
However, depending on the grant for which you apply, eligibility requirements will be different. For example, if you apply for a housing grant, the amount of individuals in your household matter much more than if you were applying for an education grant.
Housing grants require a household to have a combined gross income that falls below the median income of its county, which is why the number of members in your household is so important to take into account.
For some education grants, prospective students are required to maintain a certain GPA in addition to demonstrating a financial need. These differences also extend to variations within the same program depending on the state you live in.
Different states may have different income requirements and offer multiple grants within the same program depending on how the state allocates it’s funding.
Due to these differences, always remember to check your sources and make sure that the information you are researching is specific to your state.
Although there are many more differences that can be discussed, there are also important similarities that applicants should keep in mind.
To qualify for any government grant, an applicant must show proof of U.S. Citizenship or legal U.S. residency, in addition to demonstrating financial need. Individuals with a disability may also be eligible for specific need-based grants to help fund their education or housing, if they show proof of their disability.
Government grants can assist many groups of disadvantaged individuals improve their situation and lower their monthly expenses.
How do I apply to a government grant?
To apply to a government grant, you must prepare to present all the necessary information. Each grant may require slightly different documents and information, but most will include:
- Your Social Security Number or proof of legal U.S. residency.
- Bills that prove your address is from the state you are applying in.
- Your report card if you are applying to an education grant.
- Proof of disability if applicable.
- Your tax return information to prove your financial need.
You will also be required to provide information on any other forms of government assistance you may be receiving, as that can affect your eligibility.
For example, as a food stamp recipient, you will need to supply your account number to verify your current benefit status on your application.
You will also need to carefully review each section of the application to make sure you have all of the documents you need to effectively complete the application process. Many questions will require exact numbers and personal information, so it is important to have your tax returns and SSN on hand for easy reference.
Some grants also require a written statement. You should write your statement and review it for clarity and grammar before you submit. It may be helpful to contact the organization before you submit your application to be sure you are answering the questions appropriately.
Often, grants will have a contact person who you can direct questions to by phone or email. Asking questions before you submit is an excellent way to improve your chances of receiving the grant.
You can apply for a government grant online, in person at a local government agency or at a participating educational institute if it is an educational grant.
For housing grants, you may also be able to apply online, however these grants may require more in-depth application processes. By far, completing an application online is the fastest and most efficient way to fill out and submit government grant form.
You can take your time and carefully fill out an application in the comfort of your own home, and enjoy the benefits of having your application processed quickly after you submit it directly into the system.
Overall processing time will depend on the government grant you are applying for, so be patient and fill out an application as soon as possible.
If you are struggling to afford housing, you may qualify for financial assistance through government grants.
You may also receive assistance to help pay for bills and housing expenses. Generally, if you qualify for government assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, then you may be eligible for government housing grants.
Certain grants may require that you meet eligibility requirements in addition to the low-income requirement. For example, you must be a college student to receive the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) to help pay for tuition and housing.
Additionally, there are housing grants tailored specifically for first-time home buyers and home renovations.
What is a government grant?
Government grants are financial awards given to eligible recipients for business or personal purposes, such as purchasing a home. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid. The only instance in which a government grant must be paid back, is if it was not used for its intended purpose.
For example, if a student was awarded a grant for tuition and failed to attend the minimum amount of classes required to maintain that grant. In this case, his or her grant will likely be converted into a loan and must be repaid.
While each grant has its own eligibility requirements, most government grants require that recipients meet certain income requirements. In fact, most grants are only available to low-income households. Additionally, there are some grants that require households to meet additional eligibility requirements, such as one senior citizen living in the home or a natural disaster declaration from the President.
The majority of housing grants are provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These grants are awarded to low-income individuals and families to help them afford taxes, insurance and closing costs associated with home buying.
Additionally, there are programs that give grants to homeowners who need help paying for repairs.
Learn About Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
In addition to the aforementioned grants, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides housing grants for veterans and service members with service-related disabilities.
These recipients can use their grants to buy or change a home to accommodate their disabilities, ultimately allowing them to live more independently. Funds may be used to install ramps or widening doorways, depending on the recipient’s needs.
Learn About Section 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Grants
Section 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation grants are provided by the USDA to eligible households. In order to qualify for the grants, households must be low-income and have at least one senior citizen residing in the home. Additionally, the home must be located in a rural area as determined by the USDA.
Recipients of these grants can receive up to $7,500 to help pay for expenses related to the improvement and repair of their homes. Acceptable improvements and repairs only include those intended to make a home more accessible for disabled members and to help eliminate health or safety hazards within the home.
When applying for a Section 504 grant, a local USDA office will determine an applicant’s eligibility by assessing his or her income, citizenship status and the improvements or repairs needed for the home.
What is the Individuals and Households Program (IHP)?
In addition to Section 502 grants, there are grants that help recipients repair or replace damaged homes or obtain temporary housing assistance after a natural disaster has occurred. These grants are provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP).
In order for eligible households to receive disaster assistance, the president must make a natural disaster declaration.
To be eligible for the IHP assistance, applicants must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen or a legal non-citizen
- Live in a disaster zone as declared by the U.S. president
- Experience losses in their primary residence related to a natural disaster
- Be unable to live or access your home
- Not have adequate homeowner’s insurance
What is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?
If you cannot afford your utility bills, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance with energy costs. You may be able to receive assistance in paying your heating or cooling bills, as well as with minor energy-related repairs and improvements.
These improvements must make your home more energy efficient and help lower energy costs in your household. LIHEAP eligibility varies by state or county, but the program is generally available to you if you are low-income or receive benefits from another government assistance program.
This includes state and federal programs, such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). If you receive housing assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, LIHEAP may cover a portion of your utilities.
Because LIHEAP receives limited funding, only about 20 percent of eligible applicants actually receive help. If you are in need of assistance, it is ideal that you apply for LIHEAP as soon as possible.
Learn About Financial Aid for Student Housing Assistance
Financial aid is also available to low and moderate income individuals seeking higher education. The amount a student is eligible to receive in financial aid grants is determined by his or her financial need, citizenship status and the ability to maintain academic progress while receiving aid.
This means enrolling in the minimum amount of courses per semester and maintaining passing grades. While these grants are intended to help students afford tuition, they can also be used to cover student housing.
The U.S. Department of Education administers popular grants, such as the Pell Grant and the FSEOG grant to help students pay for housing. Additionally, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is available to students who intend to become teachers.
Students may also be able to obtain grants through their own colleges and universities if they maintain a strong GPA.
Many non-profit organizations also provide housing grants for students. Like many other grants, students are required to meet certain requirements. Some organizations even require applicants to submit essays or personal statements in their applications. There are also funds provided to students who belong to a specific indigenous group or ethnicity.