What Government Grants Do I Qualify for and How to Qualify

What government grants do I qualify for? Since there are so many types of grants, each of the awards has different qualifications.

The government gives a grant as an award of funds to qualified individuals and organizations for a specified goal. Grants are not the same as loans. The government grants can be from the federal, state, or local government.

Obtaining a grant from the government can take a lot of time. It is because the process cannot be done in a single day. You must spend your time and find out “what government grants I qualify for”.


Researching Government Grants

Here are some important methods if you want to start researching the right government grant for you:

1. Start by visiting Grants.gov

In the United States, the official website for federal grants is Grant.gov. USA.gov is a private organization that maintains that website under the instruction of President Clinton. The goal is to offer public the easy access to governmental functions.

On that website, you can find the latest list of grant options from the government. Each grant comes with complete information about eligibility and application.

By visiting Grants.gov, you can get a lot of information about different grant categories such as Education, Science, Law, Arts, Energy, and so on. Eventually, it allows you to find information about the branch of government that is currently offering grants. It can be a grant from the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, and many others.

If you want to know about the eligibility to answer a question in your mind, like “what government grants do I qualify for”, then browse by eligibility. You will get a list with different categories such as Nonprofits, individuals, Independent School Districts, Small Businesses, and others. By choosing a group that can tell you or your business, you can narrow down to get the right grant information that suits you.

2. Use CFDA

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance or CFDA is a catalog with more than 2,000 assistance programs from the federal. The list is released every year in print and the federal maintain it continuously online. From their official website, CFDA.gov, you can browse by typing the key terms or the name of the grant program or the agency to get the opportunities.

From CFDA.gov, you will get access in form of a User Guide through a link you can find at the bottom of the screen. Use the user guide to understand this website, refine the searches you made, and read the search result.

If you need more help finding the CFDA website, call 886-606-8220. That is the contact number of the Federal Service Desk. By calling that number, you can get a recorded list of self-help topics. Otherwise, you can speak with a live operator to assist your search.

2. Check business opportunities from the federal

Besides the grants you can find at CFDA.gov, you can find more information about federal business opportunities by visiting FBO.gov. This website provides you with some information about grants and contractual opportunities from federal offices.

You can use this website to search by key terms such as searching the grants in your state or finding grants based on location, based on the date of posting, or based on the agency providing the opportunity.

For instance, you can enter the key term “art” and this website will show the result of a list of grants available in the art field.

3. Search federal agencies

With the wide information you can access at Grants.gov, another way to get information about available grants is by searching from individual federal agencies.

For instance, you are the representative of a school and you want to know whether the Department of Education provides any grants to apply for or not. Therefore, you can visit the official website of the Department of Education and get a list of the available grant opportunities for schools.

From a particular agency, bookmark it on your device and then check for updates routinely. Any information on an individual agency site you have found should also show at Grants.gov. Therefore, you should check the individual agencies to do your research.

4. Find grants from individual state governments

Next, you can take benefit of an internet search by typing the name of your state and including the term “grants” or “grant opportunities”. This will help you find a centralized government website run by the office of the Governor, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of State.

From here, you can find grant opportunities from individual agencies or departments in your state. For example, you can search on the internet by typing “grants in Montana state”, and you can find the official state website Montana.gov with the list of available grants including Arts, Community Development, Wildlife, and many more.

Meanwhile, if you search for “Grants in New York State”, you can find the New York Department of State with a list of available grants such as Community Services grant and Local Government Efficiency Grant.

There are many grants in the state with the allocated money from the federal government. Therefore, you can find some overlap in your federal or state research.

5. Check local government for grant opportunities

There are many civic projects done by some towns or cities. From those projects, the local government can make money. Even though it is less frequent in a smaller town, it is not a big deal to try for finding available grant opportunities.

You can use the internet to search for the name of your town or city and include the key term “grant”. For instance, when you are typing “Baltimore grants”, you can find Baltimore City Foundation. It is an organization that provides grants for nonprofitable organizations in the city of Baltimore to support the lives of underprivileged families in that area.

What Government Grants Do I Qualify for?

You can answer this question by checking your eligibility. To know about your qualification, here are the things to do:

1. Read carefully

Why should you read the grant’s qualification requirement carefully before applying it? It is important to know that each grant is different. Every grant tells you about the eligibility in the application information. So, not all individuals or organizations can meet the qualification requirement.

Therefore, you must read the description of the grant you choose carefully. This is essential to make sure that you are not wasting your time by applying for something that does not meet your qualification.

If you want to get a grant, then you must meet the criteria of qualification. There is no other way around it. Make sure that you have checked the requirements to not lose your time.

2. Understand the type of your organization

In general, government grants are available as an award only for certain types of organizations. If you are a representative of an organization that cannot fit the qualification, it is useless to complete the application.

There are some types of organizations that apply for grants, below:

  • Government organizations – state, city, country, and special district groups from the government including Native American tribal governing agencies.
  • Education organizations – public school districts, private colleges, charter schools, independent schools
  • Public housing agencies
  • Nonprofitable organizations, including groups that meet the qualification of 501 (c)(3) tax benefits or not
  • Small businesses. The federal Small Business Administration has established the definition and size classification of “small business”. To learn about the classification, you can open this site: https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/make-sure-you-meet-sba-size-standards/table-small-business-size-standards Individuals. Most government grants, the one provided through Grants.gov, are only for groups or organizations. Some grants are also available for individuals.

3. Project Verification

Some grants are only for large projects. Others are for smaller projects. Some others do not provide specifications. Therefore, if you want to know “what government grants do I qualify for”, then you must read the application information clearly and carefully.

From the available information, you can easily check out the size of the project since it is a determining factor. Also, you have to check that your organization or the project you will do can fit the size specification of the available grant.

4. Understand the location requirement

It is also important to know that some grants are only for specific organizations or individuals in a certain area. For example, it can be in rural areas, in the inner city, or in other locations.

Again, you must read the details of any grants that you would like to apply for. This is crucial to ensure that you are registering for the grant because you are in the right area.

It does not matter if you, at this time, are not operating in the mentioned area in a particular grant. What you should do is explain and make it clear in your application if you can perform your project or service in the requested area.

Who is Eligible for the Government Grants?

Determining “what government grants I qualify for” is very important. If you cannot meet the legal requirement for a particular funding opportunity, it will only waste your time and money to complete the application process when you cannot eventually get the grant.

When you want to consider the qualification, the first step what kind of organization you represent (or whether you are applying as an individual). If you already know whether you will apply as the representative of your organization or as a person, then you are ready to check your qualification

There are many kinds of organizations that can meet the general qualification of funding opportunities from Grants.gov. If you want to get specific search requirements, you can check the list below:

Government Organizations

  1. State governments
  2. County governments
  3. City or township governments
  4. Special district governments
  5. Native American tribal governments – recognized by the federal
  6. Native American tribal government – others, not recognized by the federal

Education Organizations

Here are the types of education organizations that can meet a particular government grant:

  1. Independent school districts
  2. Public or state institutions of higher education
  3. Private institutions of higher education

Public Housing Organizations

There are two types of public housing organizations that can meet the eligibility for government grants which are:

  1. Public housing authorities
  2. Indian housing authorities

Nonprofit Organizations

  1. Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status with IRS (Internal Revenue Service); Other than higher education institutions
  2. Nonprofit organizations with no 501(c)(3)status with IRS; Other than higher education institutions

For-Profit Organizations

Organizations, other than small businesses.

Small Business Qualification for Government Grants

If you want to get grants and you are running a small business, make sure that your company meets the size standard from the U.S. Small Business Administration, known as SBA.


What government grants do I qualify for if I want to apply for individuals? You can submit the applications on your behalf. It means that you are not a representative of a company, institution, organization, or government.

It means that you will register yourself as an applicant with an individual profile. Most of the grant opportunities on Grants.gov are only for organizations, instead of individuals. If you need personal financial help or other kinds of funding, you can check the section of Grant Programs. You can use the link to learn about the way to find other grants from the government.

Foreign Applicants

Foreign individuals and foreign organizations have the right to apply for the grant. But, they must meet the eligibility based on the authorized legislation and agency policies.

There is no difference in grant applications between foreign applicants and domestic applicants. But, of course, foreign applicants have more steps to complete the registration.

It depends on the intended usage of the government grant you are applying for, you also may need to file a U.S. tax return. It requires a Taxpayer Identification Number, known as TIN, also an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

If a foreign applicant gets funds for performing activities, not in the US, then it likely does not constitute the US source income and you do not have to provide a TIN or EIN. Examples of government grants for foreign applicants are scholarships, targeted grants, achievement awards, and fellowship grants.

How to Apply at Grants.gov as an Individual

The initial step for applying for federal grants is doing the research and finding a grant from Grants.gov. Don’t forget to read the details of the registration and make sure that it is available to individuals.

Make sure that you can meet the other eligibility criteria for the selected grant. Check for the location and the type of the project. The next things to do are by following the steps below:

1. Record the FON

The funding Opportunity Number, known as The FON, is a unique number that Grants.gov assigns to all grants. When you find a federal grant from Grants.gov based on your interest, make a note of the number. You must continue the registration and application.

When you record the FON, do it carefully and correctly. For instance, if you want to apply for a grant because you want to run a Community Economic Development Project is HHS-2017-ACF-OCS-EE-1213. Make sure that you have included all the numbers and letters correctly.

2. Do Individual Registration

To start the individual registration, you must open Grant.gov, and go to the Registration page.

If you are ready to proceed, open the links to “applicants” and find “Individual registration”. After that, click on the “Get registered as an individual” button. You must enter the FON to start the grant application.

Once entered the FON, you can click on the “Register’ button. You can find it at the bottom of the page. Before applying for an individual for the selected grant, be sure that it is available to an individual.

If it is not available to individuals, when you enter the FON to apply, you will get an error message once you click “Register”.

3. Fill in your personal identification information

There will be a new screen where you must enter your name, complete your email address, and contact number. Also, you must create a user ID and password. This way will help you to go back to your application anytime.

4. Open Applicant Center Page

Once you have registered and created a user ID as well as your password, the site will direct you to the Applicant Center. It is your personal page and you can use it anytime when you want to apply for a particular grant or check the status of the application you have sent. Also, you can use it to get any information related to the new grant.

At the left of the screen, you can find a list of important resources. You can use “Apply for grants”, or “Manage my Workspaces”. 

How to Apply for Grants.gov for an Organization

You have read to answer “what government grants do I qualify for” if you need grants for individuals. Now, what if you want to register to Grants.gov for an organization? Here are the following steps to do so:

1. Get a DUNS Number for the Organization

The initial step to register the Grants.gov is to get a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet. DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) is a special, nine-digit number for each business. The administration of this number is under the authority of Dun & Bradstreet.

The first time you register for a DUNS number, it takes a few days to complete the process. Therefore, you must plan ahead before applying for the grant.

2. Apply with SAM

What is SAM? It stands for System for Award Management. This is an authorized site from the federal to verify the eligibility of organizations that run business with the government. You must visit this site and then register the name of individuals as the representative of your organization.

To complete this step, you need about a week or even longer. It takes more time if your organization does not have an Employer Identification Number.

3. Complete Your Profile

If you have completed the two steps before, you must go back to Grants.gov, and then apply for your organization. During the application process, you must provide information about the registered organization. You will also need to create a user ID and password.

This is the final step that you can do in minutes. After that, the site will direct you to your personal Applicant Center page to start any applications or monitor the pending registration.

How to Apply for Government Grants

If you have acknowledged “what government grants do I qualify for”, here are the steps on how to apply for a particular government grant:

1. Request for Proposals

It is also known as RFP, and you must review it first. When the funder is providing a new grant, they will give an RFP to the eligible agencies or groups to participate.

Learn the RFP for the grant you want. Make sure that you have checked the project specifications and application steps. This is important to determine whether your project can meet the qualification of a grant or not.

2. Application Package

You can download the application package for the grant you want at the Grants.gov website. The packet contains all necessary forms for a particular grant and the instructions for applying or submitting the materials.

3. Learn about Government Grant Forms

Many federal grants are available with a certain set of forms. Familiarize yourself with the forms first before applying for the grant to make sure that you have completed all requirements. Some of the forms include a cover form, a budget summary form, a detail of the budget, a non-federal resource explanation, a forecast of the grant, and an assurance form.

4. Fill the Form

Once you have learned the grant application forms and instructions, fill out the application packet. Do it slowly and be sure that all the required documents are in your hands. Compare the application requirements and document forms to make sure that you have completed everything 100% before submitting the grant application.

5. Write the Grant Proposal

If you have a question like “What government grants do I qualify for”, it depends on the grant you are applying for. Read the instructions in the grant application carefully. You can also include the grant application with the following things: your proposal summary, the introduction of your organization, needs assessment, project objectives, and detailed budget.

Now, if you think that you have found the answer to “what government grants do I qualify for”. It is time to gather the forms and write a proposal for each of the grants you need. After that, submit the application by visiting Grants.gov.

Check section-by-section to make sure that you have completed and attached each piece of information properly. You must also submit your application at once. Therefore, take your time and use it to prepare the grant application once you start the registration. Only the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) can submit the grant application.