If you lack the funds to start a research project, attend college or start a business, you may find the necessary funds by applying for federal grants. Federal grants are typically broken down into four categories: educational, organization, small business and individual grants. All grants are available on various government websites.
Federal Grant Definition
A federal grant is a sum of money awarded to a recipient that meets the grant's requirements. The money granted is not repayable, so there are no terms or rates associated with any federal grant. Because federal grants essentially give organizations or individuals money without any return, requirements for grants are typically more stringent than loan requirements. A person or organization can apply for multiple grants at one time. The money awarded from grants is usually less than loans, except in the case of small business and individual grants.
The federal government approves college and other post-secondary education students for educational grants if the student meets the grant requirements. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, serves as the student aid grant application. The Pell grant is generally the most often awarded grant, because it is not course-specific. Other grants, such as the Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent or SMART grant are course-specific. Some grants also require that the student must first be a Pell grant recipient. The Pell grant for federal student aid, for example, awards a maximum of $5,550 in 2011. However, an individual grant for research pertaining to humanities awards a maximum of $50,400.
Organizations, such as schools, research facilities and the state government, can apply for grants for potential projects. Available federal grants are typically specific to a certain cause or project. For example, the Hawaii Stock Management Program grant lists an objective to develop and test marine technology in Hawaii. The grant is restricted to non-profit organizations only. The federal government updates the list of available grants throughout the course of each year.
Small Business Grants
The federal government approves qualifying small business owners or potential small business owners for grants. Like organizational grants, small business grants are usually restricted to specific business sectors or demographics. Most federal small business grants come from the Small Business Innovation Research Program. For example, a grant available in the Department of Health and Human Services in February 2011 is directed toward businesses that can help mental health professionals, behavioral health professionals and neuroscientists in research.
Most individual grants offered by the federal Government pertain to research. Some grants also expect the individual to publish articles or books on the researched material. For example, a fellowship for humanities offered in February 2011 is available for individuals whose research will contribute to humanities scholars. The grant states that most recipients will publish material at the end of their research.