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

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 listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Learn more about grants and types of grants.

Who May Receive a Grant?

The federal government typically awards grants to state and local governments, universities, researchers, law enforcement, organizations, and institutions planning major projects that will benefit specific parts of the population or the community as a whole. 

Contrary to what you might see online or in the media, the federal government does not offer grants or “free money” to individuals to start a business, or cover personal expenses. However, the government offers federal benefit programs designed to help individuals and families in need become self-sufficient or lower their expenses.

Search and Apply for Government Grants

Use the federal government’s free, official website, Grants.gov rather than commercial sites that may charge a fee for grant information or application forms. Grants.gov centralizes information from more than 1,000 government grant programs to help states and organizations find and apply for grants.

"Free" Grants and Grant Scams

If you received information stating you qualify for a "free grant," it is probably a scam. Get information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you learn to 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.

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Government Loans

What is a Loan from the 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 they are awarded to an individual as a personal benefit or assistance. You are required to pay back a loan, 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.

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Help with Home Repairs and Modifications

If you plan to repair or renovate your home, government programs may make it easier for you to afford those home improvements.

What help is available?

The most common type of financial help from the government for home repairs or modifications is through home improvement loans programs backed by the government. Some programs are available nationwide, while others are only available at the state or county level.

Find Loans and Other Incentives

Assistance for Certain Demographic Groups

Am I Eligible?

Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. In general, it depends on income level, age of the homeowner, type of property, or where the property is located.

How do I apply?

Reach out to the federal, state, or county government agency that administers the program. Loans are made by traditional lenders, but the government programs help these lenders make loans that they might normally not fulfill. Grants are available depending on your income level and work to be done. Contact your local government housing office or nonprofit programs in your area that may have received funding from HUD.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

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, including questions to ask and how to report problems.

Watch Out for Utility Lines Before You Dig - Call 811

Before digging on your property, call 811. Utilities will come out to mark the area to help you avoid damaging or being injured by underground utility lines. Timing for processing your request differs from state to state. Some states allow for an online digging request.

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Last Updated: October 10, 2017

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