The Government makes loans for specific purposes, such as:
To help with the financing of education.
To assist with housing needs.
In response to an emergency or crisis.
Loans, unlike grants, must be repaid in payments that are often with interest.
Examples of government loans
The federal government offers different types of loans, including:
Where do I look for government loans?
Use the free official website of the federal government, GovLoans.gov, rather than commercial sites that may charge you for information or for giving them access to government loan application forms.
GovLoans.gov provides you with information on loans for agriculture, businesses, disaster assistance, education, housing, and veterans.
Information on government grants for states and organizations.
What is a government grant?
A grant or “grant” is a form of federal financial assistance, in which the Government provides financial assistance to finance ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy.
There are different types of government grants, but they are only available to non-profit organizations, universities, states, and local governments. Learn more about Types of Government Grants existing.
Who can apply for a government grant?
Some examples of entities that can access the grants offered by the Government are:
Scientific research projects
Projects that benefit a community or part of the population
Learn more about what are grants and the different types that exist (in English).
Although you can sometimes find information on the internet or in the media that suggests otherwise, the federal government does not offer grants or “free money” people to start a business. What you can find are programs at the state or local level that usually require the recipient to combine the grant with personal funds, loans, or other forms of financing.
How do I search and how do I apply for government grants?
Use the free official federal government website, Grants.gov, rather than commercial sites that may charge a fee for information or application forms. Grants.gov centralizes information on more than 1,000 government grant programs.
If you are considering applying for a government grant, the following information may be helpful:
Get tips and tools to help you with registration and application process (in English).
Can I apply for a government grant for personal expenses?
Most of the financing opportunities of government grants are for organizations, not individuals.
Find out where to find information about benefits offered by the Government to families for their basic expenses and needs such as:
“Free” grants and scams
If you receive information that says you are eligible for a “free grant,” it is most likely a scam.
Learn to recognize and avoid scams related to this topic, reviewing the information provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
If you have been scammed by offering you a grant, or charging you to give you information, you can file a complaint with the FTC or contact your state consumer protection office.
If you are repairing or renovating your home, government programs can make it easier for you to pay for home improvements.
What help is available to pay for home repairs?
The most common government assistance for home repairs or modifications is obtained through Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rehabilitation programs that allow you to access government-backed loans. Some programs are available nationwide, while others are only available in certain states or counties.
Find loans and other incentives
Assistance for certain demographic groups
Find out if you are eligible
Eligibility requirements vary from program to program. It usually depends on the income level, the age of the owner, the type of property or the location of the home.
Submit your application
Contact the agency that administers the program, be it the federal, state, or county government. Loans are obtained from traditional lenders, but government programs help these lenders to offer these loans, which would not normally be made. Grants are available depending on your income level and the work to be done on the home. Contact your local government housing office or non-profit programs that have received HUD funding for housing in your area of residence.
Extra information you should know
Tips for working with a contractor
Finding a good contractor for home improvement and repair work is important. Visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) page with tips for hiring a contractor and know the questions you can ask, what to do if you have to report problems with the work received, how to avoid a scam, etc.
Beware of underground utility lines
Home improvement work may require excavations on your property. Before starting any type of excavation, call 811 to make sure not to damage underground utility lines, which in turn can cause injury on physical contact. To plan an excavation job you need a permit from your state. Response time varies from state to state once you submit your application. Some states receive Online Excavation Requests.
Beware of scammers trying to make money by offering bogus government grants, like money to pay for college, help with your home, or other expenses. Typically these people will ask for your bank account information under the excuse that they need it to “deposit the grant money into your account” or withdraw a “one-time processing fee.”
In reality, the government does not give money directly to people. Generally, grants are awarded through state and local governments, universities, and other organizations that the federal government helps pay for research and projects that benefit the public.
If you think you have been the victim of a government subsidy scam, report the situation to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). May file a complaint with the FTC online (press the button for Spanish in the upper corner) or call, toll free, 1-877-382-4357 or 1-866-653-4261 (TTY, for the hearing impaired). The FTC enters complaints related to scams into a database available to law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.
If you paid money in exchange for learning about or applying for a government grant, you can report it to your state consumer protection office. The Government does not charge for providing information or application forms for federal grants.
How do I protect myself from a grant scam?
Follow these tips on the dos and don’ts to avoid falling victim to a grant scam:
What to do
Beware of announcements and calls about free government grants. These types of notices are usually scams.
Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry, to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. Register online at donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY, for the hearing impaired) from the phone number you wish to register.
What not to do
Do not give your bank account information to anyone you do not know.
Don’t pay for a government grant. You can get information on government grants, free of charge, at public libraries and online at Grants.gov. Government agencies do not charge processing fees for the grants they have awarded.
Don’t believe callers saying they are from a government agency, even if what they say appears to be true. Look up the name of the agency on the internet or in the phone book; may be false.
Do not assume that a phone call originates from the area code displayed on your screen. Some scammers use technology to disguise their location and make it look like they’re calling from Washington, DC.
Do you have a question?
Ask us for free about the United States Government. Our agents will answer you directly or tell you where you can find the answer you need.
Last Updated: July 6, 2020