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USA Government Grants: Are You Eligible

We have all seen them; late night infomercials, websites, and reference guides, advertising “millions in free money” Don’t believe the hype! Although there are many government grants online, few of them are available to individuals and none of them are available for personal financial assistance. To find an alphabetical listing of federal personal assistance visit USA.gov website’s  Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid page.

There are many groups of organizations that are eligible to apply for government grants. Typically, most grantee organizations fall into the categories below.

Government Organizations

  • State Governments
  • Local Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Native American Tribal Governments (federally recognized)
  • Native American Tribal Governments (other than federally recognized)

Education Organizations

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public and State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

Public Housing Organizations

  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Indian Housing Authorities

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

For-Profit Organizations (other than small businesses)

Small Businesses
Small business loans and small business grants may be awarded to companies that meet the size standards that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established for most industries in the economy. The most common size standards are as follows:

  • 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries
  • 100 employees for all wholesale trade industries
  • $6 million for most retail and service industries
  • $28.5 million for most general & heavy construction industries
  • $12 million for all special trade contractors
  • $0.75 million for most agricultural industries

Note that about one-fourth of industries have a size standard that is different from these levels. They vary from $0.75 million to $28.5 million for size standards based on average annual revenues and from 100 to 1500 employees for size standards based on number of employees.

With few exceptions, all federal agencies, and many state and local governments, use the size standards established by SBA. You can search for further information and for loan opportunities on the Small Business Administration’s website.

Individuals
An individual submits a grant on their behalf, and not on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. Individuals sign the grant application and its associated certifications and assurances that are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the application process. So, if you register as an Individual, you will only be able to apply to grant opportunities that are open to individuals. An individual cannot submit a grant application to a grant opportunity that is just open to organizations.

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