Federal Aid, which amounts to over $400 billion dollars annually, is provided and administered by federal government agencies. There are considerable amounts of Federal Aid and Federal Assistance, money from the government, available. You will see more below about Federal Grants and Awards.
For examples of Federal Aid Programs, click Federal Assistance in the United States. For a trustworthy source of information on domestic assistance in the United States, including a list of Federal Assistance Programs, see Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
The federal government offers aid through benefit programs that serve a variety of important purposes. These include job training, nutritional assistance, education, health care and other needs. These are not technically called grants, though some people may want you to think so so you'll pay for their help. It should be free to find federal aid.
Aid to individuals, which is different from grant awards, is given for specific purposes and applicants must fill out an application in order to receive government assistance. Your eligiblity for aid will be determined based on requirements outlined by each program. Some programs provide cash payments. Others provide payments that have specific conditions and limitations.
Fortunately, the government has made it easier for individuals by providing a website where you can enter a confidential set of questions online. Your answers wll automatically give you a list of benefits tailored for your specific needs. Although you cannot apply for the benefits online, you can click “Next Steps” and learn what you need to do to apply.
Always be sure to get your information from trusted sources such as the sites detailed here. Beware of callers who claim to offer you free money of any sort, and check out our article on Free Money Phone Call Scams so you know how to defend against getting ripped off.
Go to the Benefits.gov website - the official benefits website of the United States Government - and click on Start Here in order to complete your confidential questionnaire. If you are looking for information in a particular area, you can click on “Benefits” instead. If you are a widow with children, see Grants For Widows With Children.
If you are looking for money for college, check out our page on Pell Grants
as well as the website Free Scholarships Wiki. Also be sure that, regardless of what type of college assistance you are looking for, get familiar with the FAFSA and be sure you complete and submit yours on time!
You may also want to look into books such this one, billed as “a great resource for anyone looking to supplement his or her federal financial aid package with aid from colleges and universities. This comprehensive directory points you to complete and accurate information on need-based and non-need gift aid, loans, work-study, athletic awards, and more.”
For more information on recipients of federal aid, see our discussion on Federal Grant Recipient Categories.