The word ‘free’ in free government grants is probably a misnomer. While you get a free grant if you’re lucky, you have to spend a lot of time, effort and money to apply for one. The proposal you make must be made by an expert and very often organizations have someone like this on their staff or they have to buy out services which are pretty expensive. Even if you do have a really great proposal, it is no guarantee that you will get the funding. Furthermore, someone will have to be paid to administer the spending of the grant money according to the proposal failing which you could attract penalties.
Let’s take a look at how funds are available in the first place. It all begins and ends with Congress. It is here that laws are passed and decisions made as to how much funding is necessary. These funds are made available to the various government agencies in order to fund various major projects. It is up to Congress to decide how much is allocated to each program. Both individuals and organizations can apply for these grants.
Once these funds are approved in the federal budget, they are announced in the Federal Register. The programs that are approved appear in the CFDA or the Catalog for Federal Domestic Assistance. You can look up their site at http://www.cfda.gov/. It’s all free and you can search for programs where you can make your applications online. The site includes how to use the grant money, how to apply with detailed information and how the process of reviewing and awarding of the funding is done.
You can apply online for the programs that are related to your projects. The Department of Health was awarded $20 million by the Congress for the prevention of cancer so if you or your organization have a project related to that, you can apply for funding.
You can also apply for funding to various federal agencies. Go to their web sites and take a look at the different government agencies and see if you are eligible to put in a free government grant application.
For students, you can apply to Federal Pell Grants. Or you could forward your free grants application to them. Check if you are eligible for their programs. How much you get depends on how much is your financial need. This would take into account how much the costs of schooling are, whether you are a part-time or full-time student and whether you intend to stay for the whole academic year or not.
There are campus-based aid programs for students too and you can apply for these. This too will give you funding that is need-based. Other student aid can be applied for using FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This can be done online through their web site http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Make sure you don’t miss applying for this free government grant.