Grant money is free money that never has to be repaid. It can be used for a variety of needs. Whether you need money for school, to pay your electric bill or start a business, grants are a way to obtain necessary funding. Regardless of the administering agency or type of grant, you will need to prove that you need help. Most grants do not have maximum income limits.
Government grants are available to small businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations. Although grants are available to individuals, they are not awarded for personal use. You cannot receive a government grant to pay your bills or purchase food; however, other government agencies — including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — offer grants and financial assistance. You will need to carefully review the grant description to make sure you meet the criteria to apply. Registering on Grants.gov allows you to apply online for the grants you select. Financial need plays a role in determining who is awarded a grant. There are no income limits set by the government to receive a grant.
Federal grants for education are known as Pell Grants. If you apply for financial aid to attend a U.S. college, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application gathers information to determine the grants, scholarship and even student loans you may be eligible to receive. There are no standard income requirements to receive the Pell Grant. Your household income, expenses and tuition costs are used to determine grant eligibility. The grants are designed to assist low- and moderate-income students. The amount you receive varies, depending on need, costs and whether you are enrolled full- or part-time. You must be enrolled at least part-time to be eligible for grant funds.
Energy Assistance Grants
Energy assistance grants are offered by the government through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Each state is responsible for administering the program. Federal income limits are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Private organizations, including The Salvation Army, also offer energy assistance grants. Generally, assistance is available to people who are ineligible for LIHEAP aid. Although there are no strict income limits, you must demonstrate a financial need and an inability to pay your bill.
Many private organizations and businesses offer grants to support a variety of endeavors, business ventures and even personal needs. The requirements vary depending on the need. In some cases, grants are awarded based on your grant proposal. A grant proposal includes key information about who you are, your funding need and your supporting documents, including your budget and expenses. Local charities and churches typically offer grants to help with household expenses or medical bills. These types of grants are based on financial need. To find available grants in your area, contact your local Community Action Agency (CAA).