A grant is basically a free gift of money. And there are lots (like $billions of dollars worth) of grants out there. So it’s comforting – and tempting! to imagine that there’s some sort of genie or Santa out there, and he's ready to grant our wish and hand us some money if we just fill out a simple form.
There are folks who may want to make you think that’s true. It’s not — but some programs and services come very close! And that’s our focus.
Grants are a way the government provides services to the public and tries to make the economy grow. They generally go to other government agencies, educational institutions, community organizations, environmental groups and others — not to individuals.
However: as a result of government grants to local groups and the generosity of individuals, non-profits and foundations, there are services and funds available to you. They are very much like “free money” or grants that you never need to pay back. We help you find, understand and benefit from them:
Discover your program today!
Since this article was last updated (October 2017) we have added several new articles that have aspects that contribute to the understanding of “personal grants.” For example, Grants in Tennessee reviews grants available from that state as opposed to the federal government. It's always a good idea to check your own state's website as well and take a look at what sort of grants they may be offering. Another recent article is Apply for Grants, which clarifies what grants are, where they are available and how to apply for ones you may qualify for. And, though they don't just focus on grants, the articles How to Make Extra Money and Free Money 2018 show you lots of ways to improve your finances.
We use the term “grants” loosely here because many consider any sort of special assistance or funding to be a grant. If you do want to better understand technical grants see our article about the Grants Process. But to understand how you can benefit from services and funds for individuals, check out the discussion below. It focuses on several categories including grants and help related to Personal Difficulties, Housing, and Students:
New Tips May 2019
There are a number of additional articles that can help you get the assistance you need, financial or otherwise. They include topics such as Assistance for Childcare, Help for Addiction, Apply for Grants, and How to Make Extra Money among others. Take a look at them and also see our newsletter each month. You can also see previous newsletters: newsletter summaries and links to past issues]].
Update October 2018
Did you know that there are travel grants available for individuals? And they're not all for students and teachers, though there are lots of those. We cover them all in our recent article about Travel Grants. You might be amazed at the opportunities that are available to you to get to travel to many places around the world while someone else takes care of all or most of your expenses. You can even combine travel with a love for or interest in organic farming. Get room and board in another country in return to helping out on the farm as you learn. Check out Grants for Farms for more!
This is such a broad category we have narrowed our topics based on input from our Free Grants Community about what people are looking for:
Free Dental Care: Too many people avoid or procrastinate when it comes to dental care needs. That’s often because of a lack of money to afford care. But dental care is too important to ignore, for you and your family. There are many free or low cost dental services out there, you just have to know about them, how to find them, and go after it. We provide an overview and some great resources and tips in our article about Free Dental Care.
Money For A Car: Many people seriously need a car not just for basic getting around but in order to get and/or keep a job. There are a few well known organizations that help people get cars. But there are also more, less known names. If you’ve tried one or more and haven’t been successful getting a car, don’t give up. In Money For A Car we review at least six different organizations that could help you along with some ideas about how to boost your income and perhaps qualify for a loan.
I Need Help: This topic covers a lot of bases! It is designed to offer help and ideas if you are in a real crunch and need help (like cash) in the very near term (like now). There are people out there who want to help you (and you probably won’t find them standing on a street corner…). We offer a series of choices and possibilities in the article I Need Help — some of them might surprise you so give them a try!
Help For Felons : If you or someone you know are recently released from prison — or if you are anticipating getting out soon — this is a very important topic to explore. Reintegrating into society is not an easy thing to do and too often very little real help is offered. In Grants For Felons we identify groups, programs and services that are there to support ex-offenders. These cover help finding a place to live, getting a job, going back to school, and even starting your own business.
Low Income Help: This is a great place to start if you have a lot of needs because you just have a low income. Updates at the beginning of the article let you know of important events or offerings happening now. Further topics cover assistance with job hunts, getting decent housing, finding reliable and affordable child care, getting help with prescriptions, arranging low cost or free internet access and computers, and more. Regardless of what or how much you need, you can get a good start at Low Income Help.
Free Money Who doesn’t need and want that?! You might be amazed at the number of different ways you can find real free money. It may not be actual cash in your hands, though it could be! Our articles cover current events and giveaways we learn of. They also cover basics and tips about finding missing or unclaimed money that could be yours, when if ever it’s a good idea to buy lottery tickets, finding money for school, building a nest egg for the future and more. Check out Free Money as well as our annual updates Free Money 2015 and Free Money 2016.
More Help For those who are disabled — and those who care for the disabled, check out our recent new article Disability Grants. It provides lots of information and advice about getting a job, sorting out Social Security benefits, financial aid for going to school, and getting housing with suitable accessibility features. It also has tips for finding resources in your local area. Women who own a business or who want to start a business will also find help in our new article that focuses on business help for women. If you think you’ve tried everything to get the capital you need, think again. There are lots of new sources of funds for business women and they’re eager to help women succeed!
Unemployment Benefits is one of our most recent articles. It covers information critical to know if you have lost your job so that you can be sure you take the right steps to get any benefits for which you are eligible.
Student Loans: Lots of them come from the government but not all of them. This article reviews what types of loans are available and what you should know about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of loans.
Government Benefits is one of our newest and most important articles. There are lots (and lots!) of government benefits — and while that’s great it can also be very confusing. Here is a summary of what is available and how to go about determining whether you qualify and what steps to take to receive your benefits.
Another hot button topic. A good place to start for a broad overview is our article Home Grants. For direction to more specific topics, our consistently top-ranked article is about Grants for Home Repair. Often this topic relates not just to the comfort of your home but also its safety and your health. Many people are in dire need of home repairs not just to live more comfortably but also to ensure the health and safety of their families. Check it out as well as the article about Home Improvement Grants to be sure you are taking advantage of all the help that could be available to you.
If you are a homeowner and you want to get some cash out of your house and also increase your monthly cash flow, consider the HARP program — please! It is a true gift from the government and very much like a “grant.” Regardless of how much you owe on your home vs. its value, and regardless of whether you’ve been turned down for the program before, you may qualify now! They’ve made the qualification process much easier and you usually don’t even need to get an appraisal. Seriously, you owe it to yourself to check out HARP while it is still available. Get more info and help at Assistance for HARP Eligibility.
If you don’t own a home but you would like to — or you’d like to own a better home, we have some great help and hope for you! If you’re a first time home buyer there are government and non-profit groups that want to help you get your first home. Some offer money to help you make your down payment — that’s very much like a “personal grant” even if that’s not what it’s called! And they’re for real. Discover more in Grants For First Time Homebuyers. If you’re not a first-timer there’s still some help for you: check out Government Grants To Purchase A Home!
The mother of all “personal grants” is the Pell Grant. This is the government grant for students pursuing their studies in college or a career school (previously known as trade schools). It is the ultimate personal grant because it is given directly from the federal government to pay for school-related expenses. Best of all, you don’ compete to win a Pell Grant — it is awarded based on your income need. You must fill out a FAFSA to apply but that has been made easier this year. Take a quick look to see if you might be eligible for one of these great grants with a super-quick quiz we have at Qualify For A Pell Grant.
Scholarship Contests are also available that let you “win” money for school solely on the basis of luck. They come and go so you need to stay tuned. Check out our article about Scholarship Contests to get started. And for those who are willing to put out a bit more effort and write essays or meet other requirements, you can find out lots more in Scholarship Information and Scholarships for High School Seniors. Remember, scholarships are like grants in that they never have to be repaid.