Federal Grants

Do people actually receive money through government grants? They definitely do! On this page you can see actual award amounts provided in 2013. See Available Government Grant Money below for these billion-dollar award amounts and sample grants!

What is a federal grant? A federal grant is an award of financial assistance which has been created and authorized by a U.S. law, given by a federal agency to a recipient, to carry out a speicifc public purpose.

Sometimes special situations afford new areas of, or focus on, federal grants. For example the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or Recovery Act, made $787 billion available in a variety of areas, including Grants.

Grant-making agencies are currently posting Recovery Act specific grant opportunities on Grants.gov. And though many opportunities expired in 2010 there are still billions of dollars waiting to be awarded. For a useful summary, see Top Ten Things You Should Know About Grants. If you are looking for Scholarships, see Where to Find Scholarships.

You will also find useful information about finding grants in our article called U.S. Government Grant Department.

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Available Government Grant Money

Following are actual numbers for 2013 for total grant funds awarded by the top ten (in terms of award dollars) individual awarding agencies. This information comes from usaspending.gov, an official web site of the U.S. government.

  • Department of Health and Human Services - $336.20 billion
  • Department of Transportation - $55.3 billion
  • Department of Agriculture - $31.3 billion
  • Department of Education - $19.6 billion
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - $9.9 billion
  • Department of Labor - $9.1 billion
  • Agency for International Development - 7.9 billion
  • Department of Homeland Security - $6.9 billion
  • National Science Foundation - $6.20 billion
  • Environmental Protection Agency - $3.90 billion

Current Grants: A Sample

An interesting grant currently available (application deadline: June 30, 2015) points out the need to conduct a broad search. You can of course go to the websites of any of the big agencies noted above – but that may limit your findings. Currently the Department of the Army - Materiel Command is seeking applicants for grants for biometric research to the tune of $5 million total. Awards for individual projects will range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $500,000. Basically biometrics research proposals should relate to results that result in faster and/or better identification and preservation of forensic evidence (like you see on TV - pretty cool!).

One of the most unique aspects of this opportunity is that individuals are eligible for awards, as are small businesses, larger for-profits, non-profits (whether they have 501 ©(3) status or not as well as the usual entities like higher education institutions etc.

This is a great goal and very intriguing grant opportunity. Certainly potential applicants might not look first to the Army or Department of Defense for available grants. So if you are seeking a grant it's important to know where and how to look — which you can discover more about in Find Grants.

Understanding Federal Grants

As a result of the federal stimulus program (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), agencies have new funds and incentive to make awards.

Federal grants are typically multi-year awards and the monies awarded depend on the specific programs and legislation generating the request. Small awards may be in the tens of thousands while larger ones can be many millions of dollars.

Learn more about Grants for Business and Grants for Research.

It is important to understand that federal grants are not made for “unrestricted purposes” or to support the existing programs or activities of an organization. They are instead awarded for very specific purposes in response to specific federal legislation. Therefore if you apply for a federal grant you will most likely be developing a new plan that is not a routine part of your organization’s current everyday activities.

Agencies at the cabinet level provide funds through their sub-agencies. Federal Aid is not the same as Federal Grants. 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 The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

Award Information

Grant announcements typically include details about estimated funding including the number of awards to be made if there are more than one, the size of the awards, and the length of time covered by the awards. They also include very specific information about eligibility, which is critical to understand before you consider applying.

See Also: Pell Grants

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federal_grants.txt · Last modified: 2015/02/06 15:24 by admin
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