US Grants

When a project promises an outcome benefiting the general American public, we can often turn to the federal government for financial assistance with which to fund such a project. One way the government helps is with the awarding of US grants.

US grants differ from loans in that they don’t have to be repaid in kind. They do not, however, represent simply free money. There are some tightly binding strings attached and some very serious penalties for dishonoring a grant agreement.

And US grants don’t last forever. Money is awarded to fund a particular project that is expected to be conducted over a specified amount of time. As a part of the grant application process, a timeline is required. It must make sense and seem attainable to the awards committee reviewing every application.

US grants are just one avenue of assistance the country’s government offers as a means of financial aid to its citizens. Other programs are more frequently referred to as federal benefits, federal funds, and federal aid. All in all, however, the US government offers financial assistance, in one form or another, in an amount that can exceed $400 billion per year.

Even with a number that seems as large as that, competition for US grants and other sources of financial assistance is rather fierce. Each agency that offers assistance has very specific guidelines established for the programs and people it will fund. Attention to detail and a sound reason for asking for the money are crucial considerations when choosing award recipients.

The issuing agencies for all US grants will require the recipients to uphold all laws and official regulations that relate to the project and to the agency which issues the grant award. The penalties for failure to comply can be quite harsh, including expulsion from the program, fines, and possibly even criminal charges. The penalties may be limited to only the project at hand but they can also mean exclusion from US grants and other forms of government assistance in the future as well.

Once US grants are awarded, the projects they fund will be carefully monitored throughout the life of the grant. Most of them are limited to a term of only one year but there are exceptions. And there is often the opportunity to renew a grant when a project is long term or on-going.

In most cases, US grants are awarded to state and local governments and US territories and possessions such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa. Native American Indian tribal governments are eligible for US grants, too, as long as they are recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Foundations and nonprofit organizations frequently receive US grants to fund various programs and private individuals, too, benefit from them.