Your Free Guide to Grants

Your Free Guide to Grants

You will learn about:
  • Which grants are avaible to you
  • Hoy you can qualify for grants
  • What the application process is like

106 min – Estimated reading time

Your Free Guide to Grants

Your Free Guide to Grants

What is a grant?

A grant is a form of financial assistance provided to an individual or an organization for a specific purpose, usually tied to some form of public benefit. Unlike loans, they usually do not need to be repaid.

There are several types of entities that can fund grant opportunities. Depending on its purpose, a grant may be provided by the following types of organizations:

  • The federal government
  • A state government 
  • A county government
  • A town, city, or township
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Charities
  • Religious establishments 
  • Foundations
  • Industry associations
  • Specific grant-making institutions

Federal grants are created to stimulate the economy. Nearly any federal agency can establish a grant program to provide federal money to fund local public service programs. 

For example, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has several grant opportunities for aspiring college students. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of grant awards to help small businesses grow and become profitable. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides grants to veterans and service members for housing purposes.

Although the federal government may provide grants directly to individuals, it more commonly awards them to states, territories, and local entities for distribution.

Regardless of the source of funding, usually the process of receiving a grant is largely the same. Anyone interested in receiving a grant must typically follow the steps below:

  1. Search for a grant.
  2. Meet the qualification criteria.
  3. Apply for the grant.
  4. Receive grant money.
  5. Use the grant money for its stated purpose.

Federal Grant Contact Information

The U.S. government funds a variety of grants through several federal agencies. The table below includes contact information for various grant-making agencies. 

Type of Grant / ProgramGovernment DepartmentPhone NumberWebsite
Grants for CollegeU.S. Department of Education (DOE) Federal Student Aid Office1 (800) 433-3243https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants
LIHEAPU.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)1 (866) 674-6327https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/623 
TANFU.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)State-specific; use the interactive map here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/map/about/help-families https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/613 
SNAPU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)1 (800) 221-5689https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/361 
WICU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)State-specific; use the interactive map here:  https://www.fns.usda.gov/contacts/contact-map?f%5B0%5D=program%3A32 https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic 
Small Business GrantsU.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)(571) 306-5201 https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/grants
Veteran Small Business GrantsU.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD)1 (202) 205-6773https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/grow-your-business/veteran-owned-businesses
rowspanVA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)1 (866) 584–2344https://www.va.gov/osdbu/
Veteran Housing GrantsDepartment of Veterans Affairs (VA)(800) 827-1000https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/ 
Veteran Education GrantsDepartment of Veterans Affairs (VA)(888) 442-4551Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/iraq-afghanistan-service

GI Bill Programs: https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/
Veteran Cemetery Grants ProgramDepartment of Veterans Affairs (VA)(800) 698-2411https://www.cem.va.gov/grants/ 
Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP)Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Rural Health(202) 632-8615https://www.ruralhealth.va.gov/rvcp.asp 
Adaptive Sports Grant ProgramDepartment of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events Office (NVSP&SE)sports4vets@va.govhttps://www.blogs.va.gov/nvspse/grant-program/ 

Types of Grants

There are three main categories of grants, each of which differs in how the grants are funded. These categories are:

  • Federal grants
  • State grants
  • Non-government grants

A federal grant is one that is issued by one or more agencies within the federal government.

A state grant is one that is issued by a state government to qualifying residents. This type of grant money may come from the state’s general fund or from the federal government. If a state grant is funded by the federal government, it is known as a pass-through grant. 

A non-government grant is one that is provided by an organization not directly affiliated with any agency of the federal or state government. These types of grants are most commonly issued by non-profit organizations, charities, community organizations, scholarship foundations, and religious organizations. 

There is a wide array of grant opportunities within each of these general categories. Some grants are reserved for specific types of applicants, such as students, veterans, or low-income applicants. Grant funds may be used for a variety of purposes, depending on the grant itself. The sections below explore some of the various types of grants available.

Housing Grants

Housing grants are designed to help individuals and communities build, repair, or rehabilitate housing structures. These grants may be funded through federal, state, or joint governing efforts to offset the cost of housing and improve local communities. 

Grants from HUD

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, is a federal governing agency that oversees several housing assistance programs throughout the country. It provides a variety of grant opportunities that support HUD initiatives, such as creating affordable housing for low-income families and rehabilitating housing communities in areas experiencing a housing crisis. 

HUD grant programs allocate federal money to individual states, which then work with local communities and non-profit organizations to determine how to best use the available grant money. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is one such HUD grant program that funds a wide range of housing assistance efforts. 

Through HOME, local communities can receive financial assistance from HUD to build, buy or rehabilitate affordable housing communities for low-income families. The money can also be used to provide rental assistance to low-income applicants.

Individuals and families cannot directly apply for the HOME grant through HUD. States and local communities apply for these funds and decide which projects will be funded by the award money. Then, the state works with local communities to create housing initiatives and determine qualification criteria.

Those interested in benefiting from local housing initiatives and projects funded by the HOME grant must apply within their local community. All applicants must meet the qualifications of the housing initiative funded by the HOME program. Anyone who applies for a HOME-funded program must have an income that falls below their state’s income limit. 

HOME income limits vary by state and county. Click here to access a webpage that contains download links for the  2022-2023 HOME Income Limits in the U.S.: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/HOME-Income-limits.html 
Note: To view a table of limits in every state and county, choose the link titled “2022 HOME Income Limits – All States.”

Grants from the USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a governing agency that focuses on rural development. It creates and executes a variety of housing assistance initiatives to address housing inequality issues in rural or remote areas of the country. 

The Section 504 Home Repair program is one of the most popular housing assistance programs provided by the USDA. Also known as the Single-Family Housing Repair Loan & Grant Program, it issues both loans and grants to qualifying homeowners in eligible areas. 

It is important to note the difference between Section 504 loans and Section 504 grants. Loans must be repaid over time, whereas grants do not. However, if a homeowner receives a Section 504 grant and sells their home within three years of receiving the grant money, he or she must repay the grant amount.

Section 504 Home Repair grants are only available to very low-income elderly homeowners who reside in eligible areas and meet all of the following criteria:

  • At least 62 years of age
  • Unable to repay a home repair loan
  • Unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
  • Is the homeowner and occupies the home
  • Has a total household income below 50% of the area median income

Section 504 grant money can only be used to remove health and/or safety hazards in the homes of elderly residents. Unlike Section 504 home loans, these grants cannot be used to make general repairs or improvements if no hazard is present.

As of 2022, the maximum amount of money available through a Section 504 Home Repair grant is $10,000. Applicants may not receive more than this amount throughout their lifetime. Those who qualify for both a loan and a grant through the Section 504 program may combine their awards for a total of $50,000 in assistance.

Note: Applicants residing in the following states or territories may qualify for a higher loan and/or grant limit through the Single-Family Housing Section 504 Repair Pilot Program:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia 

Because the USDA focuses on rural neighborhoods throughout the U.S., Section 504 grant money can only be used in areas that qualify as “rural.” Anyone interested in applying for a Section 504 grant should check to see if their address is located in an eligible area. Search for your address in the Rural Housing Services system here: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=sfpd 

Homeowners can apply for a Section 504 Home Repair grant with their state’s Rural Development (RD) office. The table below includes contact information for each RD office in each state.

StateAddressPhone NumberFax number
Alabama4121 Carmichael RoadSuite 601Montgomery, AL 36106-3683(334) 279-3400(855) 304-8456
Alaska800 E. Palmer Wasilla HwyPalmer, AK 99645-6539(907) 761-7705(907) 761-7783
Arizona230 North First Avenue, Suite 206Phoenix, AZ 85003-1706(602) 280-8701(855) 699-8035
ArkansasFederal Building700 West Capitol Avenue, Room 3416Little Rock, AR 72201-3225(501) 301-3216(855) 747-7794
California430 G Street, # 4169Davis, CA 95616-4169(530) 792-5800(855) 327-7558
ColoradoDenver Federal CenterBuilding 56, Room 2300P.O. Box 25426Denver, CO 80225-0426(720) 544-2903(800) 659-3656(720) 544-2981
Connecticut451 West StreetAmherst, MA 01002-2999Toll-Free: 1 (800) 352-8015 (413) 253-4300(855) 596-7673
Delaware1221 College Park Drive, Suite 200Dover, DE  19904(302) 857-3580(855) 389-2236
Florida & U.S. Virgin Islands4500 NW 27th AvenueSuite D-2Gainesville, FL 32606(352) 338-3400(352) 338-3405
GeorgiaStephens Federal Building355 E. Hancock Avenue, Stop 300Athens, GA 30601-2768(706) 546-2162(855) 452-0956
Hawaii & Western PacificFederal Building, Room 311154 Waianuenue AvenueHilo, HI 96720(808) 933-8323(855) 878-2460
Idaho9173 West Barnes Drive, Suite A1Boise, ID 83709Toll-Free: 1 (800) 632-5991(208) 378-5615(208) 378-5643
Illinois2118 West Park Court, Suite AChampaign, IL 61821217-403-6200(855) 832-8691
Indiana5975 Lakeside BoulevardIndianapolis, IN 46278(317) 290-3100(855) 541-9018
IowaFederal Building, Room 873210 Walnut StreetDes Moines, IA 50309(515) 284-4663(855) 251-2243
Kansas1303 SW First American Place, Suite 100Topeka, KS 66604-4040(785) 271-2700(877) 470-3801
Kentucky771 Corporate Drive, Suite 200Lexington, KY 40503(859) 224-7300(855) 661-8335
Louisiana3727 Government StreetAlexandria, LA 71302(318) 473-7920(844) 325-6949
Maine967 Illinois Avenue Suite 4Bangor ME 04401-2767(207) 990-9160(855) 589-1060
Maryland1221 College Park Drive, Suite 200Dover, DE 19904(302) 857-3580(855) 389-2236
Massachusetts451 West StreetAmherst, MA 01002-2999Toll-Free: 1 (800) 352-8015(413) 253-4300(855) 596-7673
Michigan3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 200East Lansing, MI 48823(517) 324-5190(855) 813-7741
Minnesota375 Jackson StreetSuite 410St. Paul, MN 55101-1853(651) 602-7800(855) 744-0402
MississippiFederal Building, Suite 831100 West Capitol StreetJackson, MS 39269(601) 965-4316(601) 965-4088
Missouri601 Business Loop 70 WestParkade Center, Suite 235Columbia, MO 65203(573) 876-0976(855) 830-0684
Montana2229 Boot Hill CourtBozeman, MT 59715(406) 585-2580(855) 576-2674
NebraskaFederal Building, Suite 308100 Centennial Mall NorthLincoln, NE 68508-3859(402) 437-5551(855) 207-0384
Nevada1390 South Curry StreetCarson City, NV 89703-9910(775) 443-4750(775) 885-0841
New Hampshire87 State Street Suite 324, P O Box 249Montpelier, VT 05601(802) 828-6000(802) 828-6018 
New Jersey521 Fellowship Road, Suite 130Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054(856) 787-7700(855) 305-7343
New Mexico100 Sun Avenue NE, Suite 130Albuquerque, NM 87109(505) 761-4950(505) 761-4976
New YorkThe Galleries of Syracuse441 South Salina Street, Suite 357Syracuse, NY 13202-2541(315) 477-6400(315) 477-6438
North Carolina4405 Bland Road, Suite 260Raleigh, NC 27609(919) 873-2000(844) 325-6921
North DakotaFederal Building, Room 208Post Office Box 1737220 East RosserBismarck, ND 58502-1737(701) 530-2037(701) 530-2111
OhioFederal Building, Room 507200 North High StreetColumbus, OH 43215-2418(614) 255-2400(855) 560-0058
Oklahoma 100 USDA, Suite 108Stillwater, OK 74074-2654(405) 742-1013(405) 742-1005
Oregon1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 1801Portland, OR 97204Toll Free: (866) 923-5626 ext. 1 (503) 414-3300(855) 824-6180
Pennsylvania359 East Park Drive, Suite 4Harrisburg, PA 17111-2747(717) 237-2299(855) 813-2864
Puerto RicoEDIF 654 Plaza Suite 601654 Munoz Rivera AvenueSan Juan, PR 00918-4129(787) 766-5095(855) 415-2523
Rhode Island451 West StreetAmherst, MA 01002-2999Toll-Free: 1 (800) 352-8015(413) 253-4300(855) 596-7673
South CarolinaStrom Thurmond Federal Building1835 Assembly Street, Room 1007Columbia, SC 29201(803) 765-5163(803) 765-5633
South DakotaFederal Building, Room 210200 Fourth Street, SWHuron, SD 57350(605) 352-1100(855) 262-1940
Tennessee441 Donelson Pike, Suite 310Nashville, TN 37214(615) 783-1300(855) 776-7057
TexasFederal Building, Suite 102101 South Main Temple, TX 76501(254) 742-9700(844) 496-8123
UtahWallace F. Bennett Federal Building125 South State Street, Room 4311Salt Lake City, UT 84138(801) 524-4320(844) 715-5084
Vermont87 State Street Suite 324, P O Box 249Montpelier, VT 05601(802) 828-6000(802) 828-6018
VirginiaCulpeper Building, Suite 2381606 Santa Rosa RoadRichmond, VA 23229(804) 287-1500(804) 287-1718
Washington1835 Blacklake Boulevard SW, Suite Olympia, WA 98512-5715(360) 704-7700(360) 704-7742
West Virginia1550 Earl Core Road, Suite 101Morgantown, WV 26505Toll-Free: 1 (800) 295-8228 (304) 284-4860(855) 859-1834
Wisconsin5417 Clem’s WayStevens Point, WI 54482(715) 345-7600(855) 814-3109
WyomingDick Cheney Federal BuildingPost Office Box 11005100 East B Street, Room 1217Casper, WY 82601(307) 233-6700(855) 415-3411

You can also find your state’s RD contact information on the Rural Development website here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/about-rd/state-offices  

Education Grants

Education grants help reduce the out-of-pocket costs of education for students throughout the United States. Unlike a student loan, a grant usually does not need to be repaid. Some education grants have specific purposes, such as grants for tuition or housing. Others may be used however the student sees fit. 

The federal government issues several types of need-based education grants, which are granted to students based on financial need. These grants are part of the federal student aid package for millions of students and are accessible through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The FAFSA form is required for any student applying for financial assistance for college or university and can be found here: https://studentaid.gov/sites/default/files/2021-22-fafsa.pdf 

There are strict deadlines for FAFSA applications and they can be found here: https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/fafsa-deadlines 

In addition to federal grants, many states provide grant opportunities to students attending in-state colleges and universities. These grants are generated by state-specific revenue, such as property taxes or lottery funds.

Non-government grant opportunities may also be available for additional financial relief. Many charities, nonprofits, and religious organizations raise funds to support these grant opportunities. Some of these grants may be reserved for specific types of students. The most common grant categories are:

  • Student-specific
    • Grants are issued to students who fit these criteria, such as undergraduates, graduates, minorities, women, or international students
  • Degree-specific
    • Grants are issued to students enrolled in qualifying degree programs or studying certain academic subjects, such as business, hospitality, health care, or mathematics
  • Institution-specific
    • Grants are issued to students enrolled at specific colleges or universities 

Federal Education Grants

The most common types of education grants are provided by the United States Department of Education or ED. These are sources of free money that students can use toward the cost of higher education. In most cases, students do not need to repay federal grants as they do for federal student loans.

Pell Grant

Pell Grants are available for undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor, graduate, or professional degree. To qualify as an undergraduate, students must generally pursue a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree at a college or university. Most students attending a four-year college or university are undergraduates.

Eligibility for the Pell Grant is based on financial need. The federal government determines whether a student demonstrates financial need based on two factors:

  1. The student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  2. The Cost of Attendance (COA) at a college or university.

The EFC is a calculation of a family’s ability to pay tuition costs. It is determined using income and other financial information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all students must complete with their parents or guardians to receive any federal grant money.

The COA is the total amount of money that a student will pay each year at a college or university. It generally consists of tuition, fees, and room and board costs. While COA may vary from school to school, a student’s EFC will remain the same for each school year.

To receive a Pell Grant, students must complete the FAFSA. Every year, the federal government sets aside a certain amount of money for federal student aid. It is distributed to those who qualify on a first-come, first-serve basis. All students who are interested in applying for a Pell Grant should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available, which is usually October 1 of each year.

The maximum amount of money a student may receive from a Pell Grant is currently $6,895 for the 2022-2023 school year, which ends on June 30, 2023. This amount may change each year to reflect changes in the cost of living throughout the country, or if updated legislation is passed. 

Not every student who qualifies for a Pell Grant will receive the maximum award amount. The total amount varies depending on the following factors:

  • The student’s EFC
  • The school’s COA
  • The student’s status as a full or part-time student
  • The student’s plan to attend for a full academic year or less

Students who receive a Pell Grant will receive the money in one of three ways:

  1. The school will apply the grant toward tuition and fees.
  2. The school will pay the student directly.
  3. The school will combine these methods.

Typically, the school will first apply the grant toward tuition, fees, and the cost of living on campus (if applicable). If there is any money left over, the school pays the remaining balance to the student. 

To maintain the Pell Grant, students must maintain enrollment in an undergraduate course of study at a school within the United States. Students who graduate with a bachelor’s or professional degree are no longer eligible for this grant. 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Students who need additional financial aid beyond the Pell Grant may qualify for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG. This type of financial award is reserved for those with extreme financial needs. The federal government provides funding for FSEOGs to schools throughout the country. 

Students can only receive an FSEOG if they also qualify to receive a Pell Grant. Colleges and universities determine whether a student qualifies for an FSEOG by reviewing the financial information provided on the FAFSA. 

Those who are eligible for an FSEOG will be notified by their prospective college or university. The school will deduct the award from the remaining tuition balance. 

The total amount of money a student may receive from an FSEOG ranges between $100 and $4,000 per year. This amount varies based on the following factors:

  • The student’s financial need
  • The amount of FSEOG money available at a school
  • The total amount of financial aid a student receives from other sources (such as a Pell Grant or student loan)

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

Some grants have service obligations that recipients must meet to benefit from the grant, such as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant. This grant provides up to $4,000 each year to TEACH Grant recipients who pledge to satisfy a teaching service obligation as a condition for receiving the grant. 

The goal of the service obligation is to place qualified teachers of high-need subjects in areas that serve low-income students. All TEACH Grant recipients must sign an agreement pledging their service for at least four years at an approved elementary or secondary school.

TEACH Grant-eligible Programs

Undergraduates and graduates interested in obtaining a TEACH Grant must enroll in a TEACH Grant-eligible program. Not all colleges and universities participate in this grant program; students need to verify that their school of choice has a TEACH-eligible program before enrolling. 

Similarly, a program that is TEACH Grant-eligible at one school may not be TEACH Grant-eligible at another school. It is up to the college or university to determine which of its teaching programs (if any) are grant-eligible.

Eligible Fields of Study

The TEACH Grant is only available to teachers studying a high-need field. These fields are listed below:

  • Mathematics
  • Science (including computer science)
  • Foreign language/bilingual education
  • Reading
  • English language 
  • Special education

There may be other high-need fields in certain areas that report teacher shortages. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education compiles a list of teacher shortage areas by academic subject. If an individual wish to teach in a field that is included in the Teacher Shortage List – not listed in the bulleted list above – that field must be listed for the state at the time he or she starts teaching.

View the current list of Teacher Shortage Areas on the TSA website here:: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/home/ 

TEACH Grant-eligible Schools

Upon graduating from a TEACH Grant-eligible program, students have eight years to complete their four-year teaching service obligation at a school that serves low-income students. 

They may teach at a public or private elementary or secondary school, as well as any school operated by an educational service agency. Schools operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) or operated on Indian reservations also qualify. 

Graduates can search the Teacher Cancellation Low-Income (TCLI) Directory, which is updated annually, to find a participating school. Access the TCLI Directory on the Federal Student Aid website here: https://studentaid.gov/tcli/ 

Failing a Service Obligation

TEACH Grant recipients who fail to satisfy the teaching service obligation will have their grants converted to direct unsubsidized loans that must be repaid over time. These loans will also be charged interest from the date the grant was awarded.

Exceptions to the Teacher Service Obligation

In special cases, TEACH Grant recipients may request a temporary suspension of their service obligation for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They re-enroll or are still enrolled in a TEACH Grant program of study
  • They are enrolled in a program that satisfies a state’s requirements for teacher certification or licensure
  • They are fulfilling requirements for teacher licensure 
  • They have a condition or qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • They are ordered to  active duty or active military service
  • Their spouse has received military orders for deployment with a military unit for at least 180 days or has received military orders for a change of permanent duty station from a location in the continental United States to a location outside the continental United States or from a location in a state to any location outside of that state
  • They live or work in a major disaster area as declared by the federal government

Recipients who die or become totally and permanently disabled qualify to have their teaching service obligation terminated.

State Education Grants

The federal government works with states and local organizations to expand financial aid opportunities for students. Most state-sponsored grants are available for resident students, who are students enrolled at a college or university in the state in which they reside. 

States may offer various types of grants to in-state students. These can include:

  • Need-based grants – awarded based on financial need
  • Merit-based grants – awarded based on exemplary performance in a given field, such as an academic subject or sport
  • Grants for minorities – awarded to minority students to promote diversity at in-state institutions

Each state offers a different combination of financial aid programs. While grant availability and type vary from state to state, most states have at least one state-sponsored grant program. 

To apply for a state-sponsored grant, students must complete the FAFSA and submit it by the state’s corresponding deadline. Most states provide these grant awards to students enrolling at participating colleges and universities. Not all colleges or universities in a state may participate in the grant program(s).

The table below includes selected information on government education grant availability in every state.

StateGrant Name(s)Grant TypeEligibilityGrant AmountGoverning Body
AlabamaAlabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP)Need-based– Be an Alabama resident-Accepted at a participating institution$300 – $5,000 Alabama Commission on Higher Education
https://www.ache.edu/index.php/grants-scholarships-amstep/
rowspanAlabama Student Grant ProgramMerit-based– Accepted at one of the following institutions:
Amridge University
Birmingham Southern College
Faulkner University
Huntingdon College
Miles College
Oakwood University
Samford University
Spring Hill College
South University – Montgomery Stillman College U.S. Sports Academy
University of Mobile
Up to $3,000
AlaskaAlaska Performance ScholarshipMerit-basedLevel 1: GPA at least 3.5, ACT 25 or SAT 1210
Level 2: GPA at least 3.0, ACT 23 or SAT 1130
Level 3: GPA at least 2.5, ACT 21 or SAT 1060
Up to $4,755 



Up to $3,566



Up to $2,378
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE)
https://acpesecure.alaska.gov 
rowspanAlaska Education GrantNeed-based– Be an Alaska resident for at least 365 days before filing the FAFSA
– Have a high school diploma or GED
– Accepted at a participating school
– Enroll at least half-time
$500 – $4,000 
ArizonaArizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AzLEAPNeed-based– Be an Arizona resident-Enroll at least half-time-Be eligible for the Pell Grant
– Maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined by the institution
Up to $2,500Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education 
https://azgrants.az.gov/arizona-leveraging-educational-assistance-partnership-azleap 
ArkansasArkansas Academic Challenge ProgramNeed-based– Be an Arkansas resident for at least 12 months before enrollment
– Have a high school diploma or GED
– Be accepted into an approved institution
– Enroll full-time in both semesters
$2,000 – $5,000Arkansas Department of Higher Education
https://scholarships.adhe.edu/scholarships-and-programs/a-z/ 
rowspanArkansas Future Grant (ArFuture)– Be an Arkansas resident for at least three years before applying
– Have a high school diploma or GED
An amount equal to tuition and fees minus any other financial aid awards student has received
CaliforniaCal Grant ProgramNeed-based– Be a California resident for at least one year
– Enroll at least half-time at a participating institution
– Maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined by the institution
Up to $12,500California Student Aid Commission 
https://www.csac.ca.gov/financial-aid-programs 
ColoradoColorado Student GrantNeed-based– Be a Colorado resident
– Have not defaulted on a student loan
– Enroll at a participating institution
Up to $5,000Colorado Department of Higher Education https://highered.colorado.gov/students/preparing-for-college/financial-aid-for-students 
ConnecticutCapitol Scholarship Grant ProgramMerit-based– Be a Connecticut resident
– Score in the top 20% of the graduating class or earn a 27 on the ACT or 1800 on the SAT
– Be accepted at a participating institution in Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, or Washington D.C.
Up to $2,000Connecticut Office of Higher Education http://www.ctohe.org/SFA/ 
Connecticut Aid to Public College Students Grant Program (CAPCS)Need-based– Be a Connecticut resident-Enroll in a state public institutionBased on the remaining balance after other financial aid awards
DelawareScholarship Incentive Program (SCIP)Need-based– Be a Delaware resident-Have a minimum GPA of 2.5
– Enroll full-time at an approved institution in Delaware (may enroll in an out-of-state institution if the degree is not offered in-state)
Up to $2,200Delaware Office of Higher Education 
https://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/996 
FloridaFlorida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG)Need-based– Be a Florida resident-Enroll at a participating institution
– Enroll for at least 12 hours per term for full-time enrollment
No less than $200Florida Department of Education
https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/SAPHome/SAPHome?url=home 
rowspanBright Futures ScholarshipMerit-based– Be a Florida resident-Complete the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA)
– Earn a high school diploma or GED in Florida
– Enroll for at least 6 credit hours
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Have a minimum GPA of 3.0
Varies
GeorgiaHOPE GrantMerit-based– Be a Georgia resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0
Determined by schoolGeorgia Student Finance Commission
https://www.gafutures.org/hope-state-aid-programs/hope-zell-miller-grants/hope-grant/ 
Hawaii B Plus ScholarshipNeed-based– Be a Hawaii resident
– Enroll full time at a participating institution
– Earned a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher
Up to $2,000Hawaii State Department of Education
https://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/CollegeAndCareerReadiness/PreparingForCollege/Pages/FAFSA-Hawaii-2020.aspx 
rowspanOpportunity Grant– Be a Hawaii resident
– Enroll at least half-time at one of the University of Hawaii campuses
Varies
IdahoIdaho Opportunity ScholarshipNeed-based– Be an Idaho resident-GPA of at least 2.7
– Accepted at a participating institution
Up to $3,500Idaho State Board of Education
https://boardofed.idaho.gov/scholarships/idaho-opportunity-scholarship/ 
IllinoisMonetary Award ProgramNeed-based– Be an Illinois resident-Accepted at a participating institution
– Enrolled in at least three credit hours per semester
Up to $5,496Illinois Student Assistance Commission https://www.isac.org/students/during-college/types-of-financial-aid/grants/ 
IndianaFrank O’Bannon GrantNeed-based– Be an Indiana resident by December 31st of the prior year
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Have a high school diploma or GED
– Enroll full-time
$650 – $9,200 Indiana State Division of Student Financial Aid
https://www.in.gov/che/state-financial-aid/state-financial-aid-by-program/ 
Iowa Iowa Tuition GrantNeed-based– Be an Iowa resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
Up to $4,000Iowa College Aid
https://iowacollegeaid.gov/ScholarshipsAndGrants 
KansasKansas Comprehensive GrantNeed-based– Be a Kansas resident
– Enroll full-time at a participating institution
$100 – $3,500Kansas Board of Regents
https://www.kansasregents.org/scholarships_and_grants 
KentuckyCollege Access Program (CAP) GrantNeed-based– Be a Kentucky resident 
– Accepted at a participating institution 
– Enroll at least half-time
Up to $1,900Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority 
https://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/home 
Kentucky Tuition Grant– Be a Kentucky resident
– Accepted at a private college or university in Kentucky
– Enroll full-time
Up to $3,000
LouisianaLouisiana Go GrantNeed-based-Be a Louisiana resident
– Receive a Pell Grant
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll at least half-time
$300 – $3,000 Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance 
https://mylosfa.la.gov 
rowspanTaylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS)– Be a Louisiana resident
– Accepted at a participating state institution
– Achieve satisfactory academic achievement 
Varies by specific TOPS grant
MaineMaine State Grant ProgramNeed-based– Be a Maine resident
-Accepted at a participating Maine institution 
– Enroll at least half-time
Up to $2,500Finance Authority of Maine
https://www.famemaine.com/maine_grants_loans/state-of-maine-grant-program/ 
MarylandHoward P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access GrantNeed-based– Be a Maryland resident
– Be younger than 26 years of age
– Enroll full-time
– High school GPA of at least 2.5
Up to $19,400Maryland Higher Education Commission
https://mhec.maryland.gov/preparing/Pages/FinancialAid/ProgramDescriptions/prog_gagrant.aspx 
MassachusettsMASSGrantNeed-based– Be a Massachusetts resident for at least one year before applying
– Accepted at a participating four-year college or university 
– Enroll full-time
VariesMassachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
https://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/massgrant.asp 
rowspanMassGrant Plus– Be a Massachusetts resident for at least one year before applying
– Accepted at a participating community college
– Enroll at least half-time
MichiganMichigan Tuition Grant (MTG)Need-based– Be a Michigan resident as of July 1 of the prior year
– Accepted at a participating not-for-profit institution in Michigan
– Enroll at least half-time
Up to $2,800Michigan Student Aid
https://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid/0,4636,7-372–481216–,00.html 
MinnesotaMinnesota State Grant– Be a Minnesota resident
– Accepted at a participating state institution
– Enroll full-time
$100 – $13,000Minnesota Office of Higher Education
https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?PageID=138 
MississippiMississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG)– Be a Mississippi resident for at least one year before applying-Have a high school GPA of at least 2.5
– Score a minimum of 15 on the ACT
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll full-time
– Be eligible for a Pell Grant
Up to $1,000Mississippi Office of State Financial Aid
https://www.msfinancialaid.org/mtag/ 
MissouriAccess Missouri Financial Assistance ProgramNeed-based– Be a Missouri resident
– Enroll full-time
– Have an EFC of $12,000 or less-Not pursue a degree in theology or divinity
$300 – $2,850Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development 
https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/grants/accessmo.php 
Montana Baker GrantNeed-based– Be a Montana resident
– Have a least $2,575 in earned income
– Enroll full-time
$250 – $1,000N/A
NebraskaNebraska Opportunity GrantNeed-based– Be a Nebraska resident 
– Accepted at a participating state institution
The average grant is $1,446Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education 
https://ccpe.nebraska.gov/nebraska-opportunity-grant-nog 
NevadaSilver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG)Matching grant program-Be a Nevada resident-Have an adjusted gross income of less than $61,950, 
– Student must be younger than 13 at the time of approval
– Be accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll full time
Matching contributions varyNevada Department of Administration
https://nshe.nevada.edu/leadership-policy/administration/academic-student-affairs/financial-aid/silver-state-opportunity-grant-program/  
New HampshireN/A
New JerseyTuition Aid Grant (TAG)Need-based-Be a New Jersey resident for at least 12 consecutive months before applying 
– Have a high school diploma or GED
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll full-time
Up to $13,196Higher Education Student Assistance Authority 
https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJGrantsHome.aspx 
New MexicoStudent Incentive Grant ProgramNeed-based-Be a New Mexico resident
– Accepted at a public college or university or tribal college
– Enroll at least half-time
$200 – $2,500New Mexico Higher Education Department
https://hed.state.nm.us/financial-aid/grants 
New YorkTuition Assistance Program (TAP)Need-based-Be a New York resident for at least 12 consecutive months before, applying -Earned a high school diploma or GED-Accepted at a participating institution-Enroll full-time$500 – $5,665New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/apply-for-financial-aid/nys-tap.html 
North CarolinaNC Community College GrantNeed-based-Be a North Carolina resident
– Be eligible for a Pell Grant
– Accepted at a participating community college
– Enroll for at least six credit hours per semester
Up to $2,200College Foundation of North Carolina
https://www.cfnc.org/pay-for-college/apply-for-financial-aid/nc-community-college-grant/ 
rowspanUNC Need-Based GrantNeed-based-Be a North Carolina resident-Accepted at one of the University of North Carolina campuses-Enroll for at least six credit hours per semesterUp to $4,200
North DakotaState Grant ProgramNeed-based-Be a North Dakota resident-Have a North Dakota or bordering state high school diploma or GEDUp to $2,200North Dakota University System
https://ndus.edu/paying-for-college/paying-for-college-ndopportunities/ 
OhioOhio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)Need-based– Be an Ohio resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Maximum a household income of $96,000
$27 – $3,700Ohio Department of Higher Education 
https://www.ohiohighered.org/ocog 
OklahomaOklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG)Need-based-Be an Oklahoma resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
Up to $1,300OK College Start
OregonOregon Opportunity GrantNeed-based-Be an Oregon resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll at least half-time
Up to $3,612Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion
https://oregonstudentaid.gov/oregon-opportunity-grant.aspx 
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania State Grant ProgramNeed-based– Be a Pennsylvania resident
– Accepted at a participating institution
– Pursue a degree for at least two academic years
– Enroll at least half-time
$500 – $800Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency 
https://www.pheaa.org/grants/state-grant-program/index.shtml 
Rhode IslandRhode Island State GrantNeed-based-Be a Rhode Island resident-Apply at a state college or universityN/ARhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA)
https://www.risla.com/college-planning/grants-for-college 
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Need-Based GrantNeed-based– Be a South Carolina resident-Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll at least half-time
Up to $2,500South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
https://www.che.sc.gov/Students,FamiliesMilitary/PayingForCollege/FinancialAssistanceAvailable/ScholarshipsGrantsforSCResidents/LotteryTuitionAssistanceProgram.aspx 
rowspanLottery Tuition Assistance Program (LTAP)– Be a South Carolina resident
– Accepted at a two-year participating institution
– Enroll at least half-time
– Not a recipient of the HOPE, LIFE or Palmetto Fellow Scholarships
Varies
South DakotaWIA ScholarshipNeed-based-Be a South Dakota resident
– Have been under the supervision of the Department of Social Services in foster care
– Accepted at a state vocational-technical school
Up to $3,000Department of Labor WIA
https://dss.sd.gov/childprotection/independentlivingprogram/financialaid.aspx 
TennesseeTennessee HOPE Access GrantNeed-based– Be a Tennessee resident-Accepted at a participating institution
– Enroll within 16 months of high school graduation-Have a high school GPA of at least 2.75
Up to $2,500Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation
https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/collegepays/money-for-college/tn-education-lottery-programs/tennessee-hope-access-grant.html 
TexasTexas Educational Opportunity Grant Program (TEOG)Need-based-Be a Texas resident-Accepted at a participating two-year college or technical school-Enroll at least half-time$3,422 – $6,476Texas Comptroller
https://comptroller.texas.gov/programs/education/msp/funding/aid/state-programs/txtexasII.php 
UtahUtah Opportunity ScholarshipMerit-based-Be a Utah resident-Have a high school GPA of at least 3.3-Complete advanced courses in high school-Accepted at a participating institutionVariesUtah System of Higher Educationhttps://ushe.edu/state-scholarships-aid/opportunity-scholarship/ 
Vermont802 Opportunity GrantNeed-based– Be a Vermont resident-Have a family income of $50,000 or less
– Accepted at a Community College of Vermont institution
2 years of free tuitionVermont Student Assistance Corporation
https://www.vsac.org/pay/student-aid-options/grants 
rowspanVermont Incentive GrantNeed-based-Be a Vermont resident-Accepted at a participating college or university -Enroll full-time$1,000 – $12,800
VirginiaVirginia Commonwealth Award ProgramNeed-based-Be a Virginia resident-Accepted at a two or four-year participating institution-Enroll at least half-timeVaries by institutionState Council of Higher Education for Virginia
https://www.schev.edu/index/tuition-aid/financialaid/state-student-aid/virginia-commonwealth-award-program 

Washington
Washington College GrantNeed-based-Be a Washington resident-Accepted at a participating institutionVariesWashington Student Achievement Council
https://wsac.wa.gov/wcg 
rowspanWashington State Opportunity Scholarship – Baccalaureate Need-based-Be a Washington resident-Have a GPA of at least 2.75-Have a total income that does not exceed 125% of Washington state family median income based on family size-Pursue a degree in a STEM or health care field at an approved institution-Enroll at least half timeUp to $22,500Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
https://www.waopportunityscholarship.org/students/applicants/baccalaureate/ 
Washington, D.C.DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG)Need-based-Be a resident of DC-Be younger than 26 years of ageUp to $10,000 at public institutions; up to $2,500 at private institutionsOffice of the State Superintendent of Education
https://osse.dc.gov/dctag 
West VirginiaWest Virginia Higher Education Grant Need-based-Be a West Virginia resident-Have a high school diploma or GED-Maintain a GPA of at least 2.0-Enroll full-timeVariesCollege for WV 
https://www.collegeforwv.com/programs/wv-higher-education-grant/#next 
WisconsinWisconsin GrantNeed-based-Be a Wisconsin resident-Have a high school diploma or GED-Accepted at a participating non-profit institution -Enroll at least half-time$250 – $3,150Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board
http://www.heab.state.wi.us/programs.html#grants 
WyomingHathaway ScholarshipMerit-based-Be a Wyoming resident-Have a high school GPA of at least 2.5 -Accepted at a Wyoming community college or the University of Wyoming$1,680 – $3,360Hathaway Scholarship
https://hathawayscholarship.org/bin/eligibility-requirements/ 

Non-Government Education Grants

There are several types of non-government organizations that fund education grants, including:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Charities
  • Industry associations
  • Academic foundations 
  • Religious organizations 
  • Private and public companies

Grants are awarded based on a variety of criteria. Students who are studying a specific academic subject may qualify for a subject-specific grant from an association within that particular industry to help fund their studies. 

For example, the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) offers the Carole Fielding Grant, which is available to students pursuing a degree in the field of film and television arts. Those who qualify could receive up to $1,000 in grant money. The American Hotel and Lodging Foundation (AHLA) sponsors nine different scholarships and grants opportunities for students and graduates studying hospitality. 

Other grants are student-based, such as grants for students of color or women. For example, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is one of the largest private grant and scholarship providers to minority group members. This foundation awards more than $1 million each year to students in 1,100 universities, including historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is another large provider of grants and scholarships to minority students studying journalism. It offers the Al Young Sports Grant, which awards $1,000 to students studying sports journalism. It also funds the Broadcast News Internship Grants, which provide between $500 and $1,000 to those who secure a journalism internship.

Tips to Find Non-Government Grants

Students interested in applying for non-government grants should research grant opportunities that apply to them. The best way to find non-government grants is to contact the school’s financial aid office or search the internet using keywords that pertain to the student’s eligibility. 

For example, a student who is studying journalism may find several grant programs by searching for “journalism grants for college.” Some websites compile a list of available grants in various backgrounds, such as student-specific or career-specific grants. 

Before applying for a grant, students should check to make sure they meet all the eligibility criteria. Some grant opportunities may be extremely specific, requiring students to meet several components to qualify. Even if a student is studying the proper academic subject, he or she may not meet the student-specific criteria, such as being a minority or a woman. 

Additional Resources for Finding Education Grants

In addition to the federal and state resources described above, there are several other ways to find education grant opportunities. The source you use may depend on the type of grant you need as well as your qualifications as a grant recipient. 

Prospective college students can search for scholarships and grant opportunities to round out their financial aid packages. College Board is a private nonprofit organization that helps students achieve higher education. It has a scholarship and grant search engine that students can use to find and apply for aid. Students can search by type of award to narrow their results. Access College Board here: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search 

CareerOneStop is an employment and education resource operated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Students can search for grant awards on the Scholarship Finder, which has more than 8,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities. Access Scholarship Finder here: https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-scholarships.aspx 

Some grant resources are not affiliated with the federal government or a nonprofit organization. For example, GrantWatch has more than 26,000 grant award opportunities for nonprofits, individuals, and small businesses. Access GrantWatch here: https://www.grantwatch.com 

GrantForward is another search platform that allows individuals to use various filters to help them find the most accurate award opportunities. For example, prospective grantees can search by location, award type, award amount, application dates, and sponsor types. Access GrantForward here: https://www.grantforward.com/search 

Using a third-party search engine to look for grant opportunities may help individuals find unique grants and financial awards, though grantees should be aware that the website may not have the most up-to-date information.

Grants for Low-Income Families

Low-income individuals and families throughout the United States may access a variety of financial aid programs from the government as well as private sources. Federal financial aid programs are not always referred to as “grants;” however, these programs typically provide financial relief in the form of money or food benefits to help families with extremely low incomes.

Some federal grants are not awarded directly to low-income individuals, but rather to local organizations which create and administer programs to help needy families. For example, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), which is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides funding to local private and public organizations to supply food, shelter, supplies and housing assistance to local residents. 

Other federal programs directly serve low-income individuals and families in need of cash or food assistance. Income and other factors determine who can qualify for federal programs. 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is not necessarily a grant program for citizens, but rather a grant program for individual states, territories, and Native American tribes. The federal government provides money to each governing agency, which then provides financial assistance directly to residents.

Low-income families and individuals who qualify for this program can get help paying their utility bills, including heating and cooling costs. The program is operated individually in each state, U.S. territory, and Native American tribe. 

Because it is operated differently in each area, the program may go by a different name. Likewise, specific LIHEAP benefits also vary based on the region, climate, fuel needs, and home type.

LIHEAP provides both emergency and non-emergency assistance to qualified applicants. Some applicants may qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a branch of the LIHEAP program that provides services designed to improve the energy efficiency of a home.

Requirements to Qualify for LIHEAP

Specific eligibility requirements for LIHEAP differ slightly in each state, U.S. territory, and Native American tribe. However, applicants in each area must generally meet criteria based on the following: 

  • Income 
  • Residency
  • Citizenship
  • Assets (in some locations)

Some low-income families and individuals who receive another form of federal assistance may automatically qualify for this program. This is known as “categorical” eligibility. 

Because the program is designed to serve low-income families and individuals, all applicants must have a household income that falls below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL). However, some high-cost states may approve applicants with higher incomes due to the increased cost of living in that area.

LIHEAP benefits are only available to residents of the state, territory, or tribe in which they live. For example, an applicant may not apply for and receive assistance in California if they are a resident of Nevada.

Furthermore, the program is only open to U.S. citizens and qualified nonresidents. The following groups may qualify as nonresidents for LIHEAP eligibility purposes:

  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e. individuals who hold green cards)
  • Asylees
  • Refugees
  • Individuals whose deportation has been withheld
  • Individuals granted conditional entry
  • Individuals paroled into the U.S. for at least one year
  • Battered nonresidents, their spouses, children, or parents

LIHEAP applicants may need to pass an assets test to receive benefits. This process involves analyzing the value of a family’s assets, which are things of monetary value that the applicant owns or finances. If an applicant must undergo an assets test, the following assets may be considered:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Cash
  • Stocks and bonds
  • IRAs and 401ks
  • Investment and vacation properties

Locations that use assets to determine an applicant’s eligibility for LIHEAP may have certain exclusions that the applicant can claim to lower the overall amount of assets. The most common asset exclusions are:

  • The applicant’s primary residence 
  • One vehicle
  • Household furnishings
  • Jointly-owned resources
  • Student loans or grants
  • Burial accounts

Types of LIHEAP Benefits

Qualified low-income families may receive two types of benefits through LIHEAP:

  • Regular energy assistance – A one-time payment no more than once every 12 months toward utility costs paid directly to the utility company on behalf of the applicant 
  • Emergency energy assistance – Assistance for households at risk of running out of fuel, facing a utility shutoff, receiving a disconnect notice, or experiencing a natural disaster

LIHEAP will not cover a household’s entire utility bill. Most families who receive these benefits will receive help paying a portion of their overall energy consumption. The type and total amount of benefits that an applicant may receive often depends on the following factors:

  • Family size
  • Energy usage
  • Energy needs
  • Energy cost
  • Home type
  • Climate or region

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a sister program of LIHEAP designed to help low-income families and individuals make their homes and rental units more energy efficient. Those who qualify can receive free help making upgrades and repairs to increase energy efficiency, which reduces overall energy costs.

WAP may pay for a variety of services, including (but not limited to):

  • Installing insulation.
  • Repairing or replacing water heaters.
  • Cleaning heating and cooling systems.
  • Sealing doors and windows.
  • Repairing leaks.
  • Installing energy-efficient light bulbs.

Just like LIHEAP, applicants must meet the income restrictions determined by their state, U.S. territory, or Native American tribe. Some applicants may be given priority, including elderly homeowners, applicants with young children, or individuals with disabilities.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a welfare-job program that provides financial aid to low-income families. It is a federal benefits program operated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and controlled locally by states, U.S. territories, and Native American tribes. 

The U.S. government allocates federal funds for this program out to each state, territory, and tribal nation, which then distributes benefits to residents. Low-income families who are unemployed or underemployed may qualify for cash assistance, work assistance, job preparation, and/or child care assistance. 

Because it is controlled by individual states, territories, and Native American tribes, the program may go by different names. Similarly, specific TANF benefits and benefit amounts also vary based on the region.

Requirements to Qualify for TANF

All TANF applicants must meet certain program requirements to receive TANF benefits. Although the program operates independently in each state, the following standards are used by most states, territories, and Native American tribes to determine eligibility. 

  • Income 
  • Employment
  • Behavior
  • Assets 

The TANF program was created with low-income families in mind. As such, all applicants must be considered low income in their state, U.S. territory, or Native American tribe. TANF recipients must generally have a household income that is at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI). 

TANF income limits vary across the country. Some areas are more high-cost than others, which means the AMI may be slightly higher. Income limits are determined based on:

  • Cost of living in each state, territory, or tribe
  • Number of household members

Another stipulation of the TANF program involves the work requirement. Adult TANF recipients must be employed or participate in work search activities to be eligible for cash assistance. Work activities are those that promote employment and foster the job search process. 

Work activities for TANF are defined by the federal government, which categorizes them into 12 groups. These are:

  • Subsidized private-sector employment
  • Subsidized public-sector employment
  • Unsubsidized employment
  • On-the-job training
  • Job skills training 
  • Work experience, if sufficient private-sector employment is not available
  • Job-search and job-readiness assistance
  • Community service programs
  • Vocational education training
  • Child care services for individuals participating in a community service program
  • Education related to employment

The amount of work search activities that TANF recipients must complete varies depending on the state, territory, and Native American tribe. However, the minimum number of hours of work search activities is 20 hours per week for single parents and 30 hours per week for two-parent households.

TANF recipients living in certain states, territories, and tribes may need to meet behavioral requirements to receive benefits. For example, some areas impose mandatory school attendance and medical immunizations. However, if these requirements violate religious beliefs or adversely affect a child’s health, the program may waive them.

Many states establish asset limits for TANF recipients. An asset is defined as anything of monetary value that can be converted into cash. Some of the assets considered in determining TANF eligibility are:

  • Vehicles
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

Local TANF offices are responsible for evaluating assets if the area has an asset limit.

TANF Cash Benefits

TANF program benefits vary by state, U.S. territory, and Native American tribe. The amount of TANF cash benefits that a recipient may qualify for depends on the following factors: 

  • Area: Each TANF program has its standards and policies when determining the number of benefits an applicant will receive
  • Family size: Generally, the more children in the household, the more money a family may receive
  • Household income: The total annual income for all members of the household

Each TANF office determines how it distributes cash benefits to program participants. There are four ways that states, territories, and tribes can pay out TANF benefits:

  1. Checks

Traditional paper checks are still available in many states, territories, and tribes. This option is ideal for those who do not have access to a bank account. 

  1. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card

An EBT card works like a debit card. TANF offices load cash benefits onto the card once per month for public assistance program recipients. Then, recipients use these EBT cards just like a regular debit card when making a purchase. EBT cards may also be used at ATMs, where recipients can withdraw cash. When the card balance reaches zero, recipients must wait until the next month for the TANF program to reload it.

  1. Prepaid Card

Prepaid cards work like debit cards and have a four-digit pin. They can be used online or in stores to purchase items and are accepted by more major retailers than EBT cards.

  1. Direct Deposit 

When TANF benefits are deposited electronically into a recipient’s bank account, it is known as direct deposit. Recipients who choose this option have TANF funds available on their debit cards or may withdraw the funds as cash.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, is a federal benefits program that provides nutrition benefits to millions of low-income individuals and families. Qualified applicants can also receive job assistance and participate in nutrition education services to learn how to eat healthily.

Qualified beneficiaries receive benefits once per month on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used as a debit card at participating grocery and retail stores to buy approved food items.

Requirements to Qualify for SNAP

Specific eligibility requirements for SNAP may differ slightly in each state, U.S. territory, and Native American tribe. However, applicants in each area must generally meet requirements based on the following criteria:

  • Citizenship
  • State residency
  • Income
  • Employment
  • Resources

All SNAP beneficiaries must be U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens and be a resident of the state, territory, or tribe in which they apply. For example, an individual may not apply for and claim SNAP benefits in Massachusetts if he or she lives in New York.

Furthermore, SNAP benefits do not transfer from one state to another. Beneficiaries who move must close out their SNAP accounts and reapply in their new state. 

Income is another factor in receiving SNAP benefits. The program is designed to provide food assistance to low-income families and individuals, so all applicants are required to provide information about their income to determine if they qualify. 

Typically, applicants must make less than the monthly gross income limit and an annual net income limit.

  • Gross income is the total amount of non-excluded income earned before taxes. 
  • Net income is the total amount earned after taxes and any applicable deductions.

However, elderly or disabled SNAP applicants are only required to make less than the net income limit.

SNAP beneficiaries 59 years of age or younger are required to register for work to receive SNAP benefits. The following activities usually qualify as registering for work:

  • Working at least 30 hours per week and not quitting.
  • Working at least 30 hours per week and not reducing hours.
  • Accepting a job when it is offered.

Some SNAP beneficiaries are not required to register for work. Anyone who meets one of the following criteria is usually exempt from the SNAP work requirement:

  • Currently works at least 30 hours per week
  • Currently receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Unemployment Insurance (UI) and meet the work requirements for that program
  • Is a caregiver for a child younger than 6 years of age or for a person who is incapacitated
  • Is deemed physically or mentally unfit for work
  • Regularly takes part in a drug or alcohol treatment program

SNAP Benefit Amount

The amount of SNAP benefits a family may receive is known as an allotment. This amount varies depending on several factors, including the state in which they live, their income, their household size, and their financial need. 

Once a family is approved for SNAP, the local SNAP office calculates their benefit amount and mails them an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This card works like a debit card; it gets loaded with the family’s allotment each month and can be used to purchase approved food items at groceries and retailers that accept EBT payments.

Families can estimate their expected SNAP allotment by following the steps listed below:

  1. Multiply net monthly income by 0.3.
    1. SNAP households are expected to spend about 30% of their income on food.
  2. Subtract this amount from the maximum monthly allotment based on household size in the chart below

The 2022-2023 maximum monthly allotments for the 48 contiguous U.S. states and the District of Columbia are listed in the table below. Note that these amounts are valid until September 30, 2023.

Household SizeMaximum Monthly Allotment
1$281
2$516
3$740
4$939
5$1,116
6$1,339
7$1,480
8$1,691
For each additional member:+ $211

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal benefits program that provides food and nutrition health care services to eligible children and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women. It is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is available in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and several Native American tribes throughout the country.

Those who qualify for the program can receive financial assistance to help them purchase nutritious food and learn how to choose healthier food items. Many women who qualify may also receive nutrition education and breastfeeding support.

Requirements to Qualify for WIC

To receive WIC benefits, applicants must meet the general eligibility guidelines. In general, WIC is available to the following groups:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • Postpartum women
  • Children and infants 5 years of age or younger

Anyone who falls into one of the groups listed above must also meet requirements regarding the following factors:

  • Income
  • Age
  • Stage of pregnancy
  • State residency (U.S. citizenship is not required)
  • Nutritional risk

WIC is geared toward low-income women and children. Therefore, all applicants must provide information about their household income to determine if it falls below their state, territory, or tribe’s income limit. 

WIC income limits vary throughout the country and are mostly based on:

  • Cost of living.
  • Size of the household.

The age requirement only applies to children, who must be younger than 5 years of age to receive any benefits. Women applying to the WIC program must meet certain criteria regarding their stage of pregnancy. 

WIC may be available to women in the following stages of pregnancy:

  • During pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth or end of pregnancy
  • Up to six months after birth or end of pregnancy
  • Until the infant reaches age 1 if they are breastfeeding

Another condition of receiving WIC benefits is being at nutritional risk as determined by a licensed healthcare professional. The program is meant to provide nutritious foods and resources to help women and children reach optimal health. Therefore, applicants must undergo a medical or nutritional assessment.

To assess the applicant’s nutritional risk, healthcare professionals look for certain nutritional, dietary, or medical conditions that could make them vulnerable to malnourishment. The following are examples of conditions that may qualify:

  • Being underweight 
  • Having a poor diet
  • Anemia (low iron levels)
  • A history of pregnancy complications

Types of WIC Benefits

There are three primary categories of benefits to women, infants and children enrolled in the WIC program: 

  1. Food packages
  2. Nutrition education
  3. Breastfeeding support and services

A food package is a preselected list of foods and supplements chosen by a WIC agency to nourish different types of applicants. For example, infants will not have the same food packages as women, because infants require formula, baby food, and infant cereal. 

Applicants can choose from a variety of food items within their respective food packages. However, there are limits to the amount of food they may purchase each month. These limits are known as “monthly allowances.”

Food packages only contain WIC-approved foods, which are selected by local WIC agencies. As such, food choices differ in each state, territory, and Native American tribe. Typically, WIC applicants will get to choose from several brands within each food category and may be able to swap or substitute certain items that are unavailable.

In addition to food benefits, WIC beneficiaries also have access to nutrition education to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle. Specific education and services vary by the beneficiary and are determined at the first WIC health appointment, where beneficiaries discuss their goals.

Women who are breastfeeding may receive support services to help them learn about the entire process. For example, some WIC offices may provide breastfeeding instruction classes. 

Grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the largest grant-making agency in the federal government. Most of the grants provided by the DHHS are not directly given to individuals and families. 

Instead, the DHHS allocates funds to states, U.S. territories, Native American tribes, private associations, non-profit organizations, and other entities. These entities use the grant money provided by the DHHS to fund a variety of projects for the benefit of residents.

There are thousands of DHHS grant opportunities posted on the official Grants.gov website. Interested entities may search for grants based on the following filters:

  • By category (education, health, energy, etc.)
  • By eligibility (state governments, small businesses, non-profits, etc.)

Access the grant directory here: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html 

Grants for Small Businesses

Small businesses are key drivers of the U.S. economy. As such, there are several grant opportunities to help small businesses tackle a variety of tasks. 

To qualify as a small business, it must meet the following criteria defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):

  • Be a for-profit business
  • Not be nationally dominant in its field
  • Be independently owned and operated 
  • Be physically located and operate in the United States or its territories

Additionally, it must meet the SBA’s size standards, which vary by industry. These standards are generally based on the number of employees or the number of annual receipts the business has.

Businesses can use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to determine if they qualify as small businesses in the eyes of the SBA. Access the tool on the SBA’s website here: https://www.sba.gov/size-standards 

Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that serves as a resource for small businesses, nonprofits, and educational organizations that support entrepreneurship. It provides grant opportunities for small businesses as well as to states and local organizations interested in offering their small business grants. 

Small businesses that are engaged in scientific research and/or development may qualify for a grant through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The sister program, known as the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, also offers grant opportunities. These two programs work together to promote innovation.

Continue reading below to learn more about these grant, loan, and funding opportunities. 

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

The Small Business Administration (SBA) coordinates the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which helps small businesses further their scientific research and development. Through the SBIR program, small businesses can receive grants and contract funding to help them explore their technological potential.

The SBA also coordinates the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which operates in a similar function to the SBIR program. Both initiatives provide grant opportunities for businesses looking to expand their science and technology functions.

The mission of these programs is to foster research in areas lacking in the United States. Through the SBIR/STTR programs, the SBA states that it hopes to accomplish the following goals:

  • Stimulate technological innovation
  • Meet federal research and development needs
  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding

The STTR program has one additional goal that is not shared by its sister program. Small businesses who participate in the STTR program are required to partner with a nonprofit organization, which is typically a university or a federal laboratory. This collaboration furthers the SBA’s goal of bridging the gap between the fundamental sciences and the commercialization of resulting innovations. 

To participate in the SBIR/STTR programs, small businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Be physically located and operate within the United States
  • Meet the SBA’s definition of a small business 
    • Refer to page X of this guide for more information
  • Have no more than 500 employees, including affiliates

Small businesses interested in participating in the STTR program must partner with a nonprofit research entity located in the U.S. that meets one of the following categorical criteria:

  • Nonprofit college or university
  • Domestic nonprofit research organization
  • Federally funded research and development (R&D) center (FFRDC)

The total amount of grant money that a small business may receive to conduct their research and development varies depending on the program as well as the phase of research. Both programs consist of three phases:

  • Phase I: During this phase, businesses purpose a research and development effort. The SBIR/STTR program administrators will consider the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed project. If it is deemed a worthy project, the small business may proceed to Phase II.
  • Phase II: This phase consists of continuing the research and development project. 
  • Phase III: This phase may be necessary for small businesses looking to pursue commercialization efforts. 

Grant awards for SBIR/STTR participants range between $50,000 and $250,000 during Phase I, which typically lasts for six months (SBIR) or one year (STTR). Grant awards for businesses who proceed to Phase II of the SBIR/STTR programs are usually $750,000 for two years.

The SBA imposes limits on the total amount of money a business may receive through an SBIR/STTR grant. As of November 2021, Phase I awards may be no more than $275,766. Phase II awards are limited to $1,838,436. Participants may request more funding through the SBA, which may grant a waiver to qualified businesses. 

Amber Grant

In addition to federal grants, small businesses may also qualify for grant opportunities provided by private, non-government organizations. The Amber Grant program provides several grants to women involved in several aspects of the business. 

The Amber Grant program is funded by WomensNet, an entrepreneurial organization created for women in business. The association awards more than $320,000 each year through various grant opportunities. 

The monthly Amber Grant provides $10,000 each month to one woman with business aspirations. WomensNet chooses five finalists, one of whom will receive the monthly $10,000 grant. The remaining four finalists each receive $1,000. 

All monthly Amber Grant winners automatically qualify for the annual Amber Grant, which provides an additional $25,000 in grant money to one of the 12 winners of the monthly grant. 

WomensNet offers several other grant awards for women involved in the business:

  • Non-Profit Grant – A quarterly grant that awards $10,000 to one nonprofit business or organization owned and operated by women. 
  • Marketing Grant – Does not provide a monetary award; winners receive free marketing support and strategic consultations with professionals.
  • Business-specific Grants – Each month, WomensNet awards a $10,000 grant to one business operating in a specific industry based on the following calendar:
    • January – Skilled trades
    • February – Health and fitness
    • March – Restaurant, catering, and food
    • April – Sustainability
    • May – Mental and emotional support
    • June – Business support service 
    • July – Animal services 
    • August – Hairstylists and products 
    • September – Education and child care
    • October – Creative arts
    • November – Skincare
    • December – Fashion

All WomensNet board members are authorized to give out “Mini-Grants” worth $2,000 each. The total amount of money that may be awarded throughout the year changes yearly; the 2022 limit is $48,000 total, allowing for 24 Mini-Grants. 

To apply for any of the Amber Grants listed above, prospective small businesses may complete a single online application form. Once complete, they will be considered for all applicable grants. 

The application requires all applicants to provide the following:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Business name (optional)
  • Website or Facebook page (optional)
  • Information about the applicant’s business or business idea
  • Information about how the applicant would use the grant money
  • Credit or debit card information for the $15 application fee

Access the application portal here: https://ambergrantsforwomen.com/get-an-amber-grant/apply-now/ 

FedEx Small Business Grant

FedEx hosts an annual grant contest to recognize and support small businesses throughout all professional industries. The Small Business Grant Contest usually opens in the spring and closes just a few weeks after the application becomes available. 

The program awards grand prizes of up to $50,000 and $4,000 in FedEx Office print and business services. The runners-up receive up to $20,000 and $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services.

To qualify for the FedEx Small Business Grant, all applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located and operate in the U.S.
  • Be a for-profit business
  • Has no more than 99 employees 
  • Has been operating for at least six months as of the date the contest opens
  • Has a shipping need

Small businesses may apply for the grant online when the contest opens. Applicants will need to provide the following information:

  • Contact information about their business
  • FedEx shipping account number
  • A short introduction about the business 
  • Up to four photos of their business or product
  • Their business logo

Grants for Veterans and Their Families

Veterans, military service members, and their families may qualify for several grant opportunities funded by both the federal government and nonprofit organizations. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees most federal grants for veterans. 

There are many different grants for veterans and their families. Some help qualified individuals obtain safe housing; some grants are geared toward veteran small business owners; others provide financial assistance to help veterans afford essential items. 

To receive a veteran-specific grant, applicants must meet the general qualifications of the grant program. Although the qualification criteria may vary between grant programs, most require applicants to meet military service-related requirements. 

Grants for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

Veteran small business owners (VSBOs) may be able to receive federal assistance and funding to help them obtain special contracts. The Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees many programs and grant opportunities for small businesses, including one program reserved for veterans and their families. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has veteran-specific grant and benefits programs available.

However, the federal government is not the only source of veteran grants. Nonprofit organizations and associations dedicated to serving veterans and their families often provide grant opportunities for those interested in starting or growing a small business. 

Continue reading to learn about some of the grant opportunities for VSBOs.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program

Veteran business owners with a service-connected disability may join the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, which is operated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This program helps small businesses compete with others in their field by setting aside contracts (work agreements between the veteran-owned small business and a potential vendor) that VSBOs may bid on.

The federal government aims to set aside at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars for veteran-owned small businesses every year. These set-aside contracts help level the playing field for small businesses and give veterans the chance to compete for large contracts. 

Veteran-owned small businesses that participate in this program face a smaller pool of applicants when bidding for a contract. This makes it easier for veterans to keep their businesses going by giving them the chance to bid on projects they may otherwise miss out on. 

To join the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  •  Meet the SBA’s definition of a small business 
    • Refer to page X of this guide for more information
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans
  • Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions

A service-connected disability is a condition that is directly related to the veteran’s military service. The disability could have been incurred or aggravated by service.

To bid on any set-aside contracts under this program, veterans must self-represent as service-disabled business owners on the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). To do this, veterans need to update the socio-economic status section of their business profile.

Access the SAM website here: https://sam.gov/content/opportunities 

Veterans First Contracting Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has its contracting program that provides its set-aside contracts for qualified veteran business owners. It works similarly to the SBA’s program.

The primary purpose of the Veterans First Contracting Program is to allow legitimate veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses to compete for contracts set aside by the VA. Additionally, all participating businesses will be credited by VA’s large contractors for subcontract plan achievements.

To participate in this program, all prospective businesses must be verified. The verification process involves the following four steps:

  1. Intake
  2. Assessment 
  3. Federal review
  4. Decision

All applicants interested in participating in this program must meet the following qualification criteria:

  • Be a veteran or service-disabled veteran
  • Own at least 51% of the company
  • Have full control of the company, including day-to-day management and strategic policy

The VA conducts all verifications through the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE). Individuals who are not sure if their business qualifies for this program can take a pre-qualification quiz on VetBiz, a website owned by the VA, to see if they might be eligible. Access the quiz here: https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/ 

The verification process can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Register on the System for Awards Management (SAM)
  2. Create a DS or ID.me login account 
  3. Create a Vendor Information Page (VIP) account
  4. Upload all required documents into the VIP profile
  5. Apply the CVE

All businesses verified by the CVE receive three years of eligibility. Once three years pass, businesses must recertify with the CVE to continue participating in the program. The basic steps in the verification process are outlined below:

  1. Log in to VIP.
  2. Click “My Business,” then click “Re-Verify.”
  3. Answer all questions in the verification portal.
    • Once all questions are answered, the VIP system will determine if the user qualifies for Simplified Reverification.
  4. Follow the instructions for completing the remainder of the re-verification application.
    • If the business qualifies for Simplified Reverification, the business owner must sign an updated VA Form 0877.
    • If the business does not qualify for Simplified Reverification, the business owner must complete all remaining sections of the application.
  5. Click “Submit.”

Veteran Small Business Award

The StreetShares Foundation is a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to the military entrepreneurial community. It operates several veteran benefits programs, including the Veteran Small Business Award.

This grant program issues three monthly awards of $15,000, $6,000, and $4,000 to start or expand a small business. 

To qualify for the Veteran Small Business Award, all applicants must be one of the following:

  • A veteran, reserve, or transitioning active duty member of any of the United States Armed Forces
  • A spouse of a military member
  • The child or immediate family member of a military member who died on active duty 

In addition to meeting the military-specific eligibility criteria, all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a sole proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp 
    • If the applicant applies in conjunction with a nonprofit, he or she must be the organization’s senior executive director or equivalent to qualify.
  • Own at least 51% of the company
  • Be considered low income or lacking the funds to start or grow their company 

To apply for a grant through the Veteran Small Business Program, applicants must submit an application and a two-minute pitch video. In the video, the applicant should provide an introduction to the business idea, explain its mission and goals, and discuss how he or she would use the grant money if chosen. Applications submitted without a video will not be considered for the award.

Disability Housing Grants

Veterans with service-connected disabilities may qualify for adapted housing grants from the VA. These grants were established to improve the living situations for disabled veterans by providing funding for upgrades, modifications, and improvements.

The VA offers three separate VA housing grant opportunities:

  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant
  • Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant
  • Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant 

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH)

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant provides money to disabled veterans to help them live comfortably. SAH grant money can be used to buy, build or change a veteran’s permanent home (a home the veteran plans to live in for a long time).

To receive a SAH grant, veterans must meet the following main criteria: 

  • Own (or plan to own) the home
  • Have a qualifying service-connected disability

Qualifying service-connected disabilities feature the following characteristics:

  • Loss or loss of use of more than one limb
  • Loss or loss of use of a lower leg with lasting effects of an organic (natural) disease or injury
  • Blindness in both eyes (with 20/200 visual acuity or less)
  • Certain severe burns
  • Loss of use or loss of one lower extremity (foot or leg) that occurred after September 11, 2001, which makes it so you cannot balance or walk without the help of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair
    • Note that only 120 SAH grants per year are given out to veterans with this type of service-connected disability.

The maximum amount of money a veteran may receive through a SAH grant is $109,986 (valid until September 30, 2023). The maximum amount changes annually on October 1.

Veterans who receive a SAH grant do not need to use the entire grant at once. The grant money may be used up to six times throughout a veteran’s lifetime. 

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA)

The Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant provides funding to veterans so they may adapt their homes to fit their needs. To qualify for an SHA grant, veterans must meet the following criteria:

  • They (or a family member) own or will own the home
  • They have a qualifying service-connected disability 

To have a qualifying service-connected disability, veterans must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Loss or loss of use of both hands
  • Certain severe burns
  • Certain respiratory or breathing injuries

The SHA grant provides a maximum of $22,036 (valid through September 30, 2023). The maximum allowed amount changes yearly on October 1. Veterans are not required to use the entire sum of money at once; they may use it up to six times throughout their lifetime. 

Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA)

Veterans who are temporarily living with a family member and who qualify for the SAH or SHA grant may also qualify for a Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant. This grant provides one-time payment veterans can use to adapt a family member’s home to fit their needs. 

The total amount of TRA grant money a veteran may receive depends on whether he or she qualifies for an SAH or SHA grant. The list below includes TRA maximum amounts, which are valid through September 30, 2023:

  • Qualify for an SAH grant: total TRA award money cannot exceed $44,299 
  • Qualify for an SHA grant: total TRA award money cannot exceed $7,910

Education Grants for Veterans and Their Families

Veterans and their family members can access special financial aid and education benefit opportunities to help them pay for their education. These programs are funded by different branches within the federal government and provide money that may be used to cover tuition, room and board, and other education expenses. 

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG)

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG) is available to dependent children of veterans who died as a result of military service. Like other federal grants, the award money does not need to be repaid. This grant is provided by the Department of Education Federal Student Aid office.

This grant opportunity is reserved for those who meet the program’s criteria. To qualify for an IASG, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Do not qualify for a Federal Pell Grant due to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
    • They must meet all other eligibility criteria of the Pell Grant
  • Are the child of a member of the U.S. military who died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11
  • Were younger than 24 years of age or were enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of their parent’s or guardian’s death

The total amount of money that a student may receive through an IASG is equal to the maximum amount for the Federal Pell Grant. The maximum Pell Grant amount is  $6,895 for the 2022-2023 school year, which ends on June 30, 2023. A student may not receive the full IASG amount if it will exceed their cost of attendance.

However, the Budget Control Act of 2011 requires that the total amount of money for which a student qualifies through an IASG must be reduced by 5.7%. So, for all IASGs disbursed on or after October 1, 2022 but before October 1, 2023, the statutory maximum award amount of $6,895 is reduced by 5.7 percent ($393.01), resulting in a maximum award of $6,501.99.

Just like the Pell Grant, students who receive an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant will receive the money in one of three ways:

  1. The school will apply the grant toward tuition and fees.
  2. The school will pay the student directly.
  3. The school will combine these methods.

Usually, the school will first apply the grant toward tuition, fees, and the cost of living on campus (if applicable). If there is any money left over, the school pays the remaining balance to the student. 

GI Bill Programs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many education and training benefits through the GI Bill. These programs, while not considered traditional financial aid, provide money to help veterans and their families pay for school or career training. Depending on the applicant, the GI Bill may cover all or most of the expenses related to post-military service education. 

The VA funds three types of GI Bills:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
  • Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
Post-9/11 GI Bill

Veterans who served on active duty military service after September 10, 2001, may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Any benefits issued through this program may be used alongside other types of federal student aid. 

This program covers up to the full cost of tuition and fees as well as money for books and supplies, housing, and relocation costs. Veterans may also use the benefits from this program to pay for non-college degree programs, vocational schools, and other qualifying job training programs.

Requirements to Qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is open to veterans who served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve or National Guard. Spouses and children of eligible veterans may also be able to receive money through this program. 

To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the VA requires all veterans to have one of the following types of discharges from military service:

  • Honorable
  • Under honorable conditions
  • General

Veterans who have a dishonorable discharge do not qualify for VA education benefits for themselves or their family members.

The VA also has military service criteria that all veterans must meet to receive benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. They must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have served at least 90 days on active duty (continuous or otherwise) on or after September 11, 2001; or
  • Have received a Purple Heart* on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service; or
  • Have served for at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability; or
  • Be a dependent child using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member.

*Service members and veterans who were honorably discharged are eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits when they receive a Purple Heart, one of the highest merits awarded to members wounded by enemy action. 

Types of Benefits

The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers the following types of education benefits: 

  • Tuition assistance for college and non-college degrees
  • Monthly housing allowance (MHA)
    • This is a set amount of money paid directly to the student that helps offset the cost of living. MHA is calculated by the school, campus, or institute where the student attends their classes. Spouses do not qualify for a MHA.
  • Money for books & supplies
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Flight training
  • Licensing and certification
  • Correspondence courses
  • Help to pay for national tests
  • Work-study
  • Tutorial assistance

Depending on the veteran’s military service, he or she may only be able to use these benefits within a certain time.

  • Service ended before January 1, 2013: benefits expire 15 years after the separation date from active service
  • Service ended on or after January 1, 2013: benefits do not expire 
Benefit Amounts

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers the full amount of tuition and fees at public institutions for in-state students. 

The VA caps the benefit amount for students who want to attend a private or foreign university. Currently, the maximum benefit amount for private or foreign schools is $26,381.37 per year.

How to Transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Veterans may transfer all or some of their Post-9/11 Bill benefits to a qualifying dependent spouse or child. When a transfer happens, the veteran chooses not to use the benefits and instead allows an eligible family member to use them for tuition assistance, housing, books, and supplies. 

To qualify for a transfer of benefits, veterans must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • They have completed at least six years of military service by the date the transfer request is approved
  • They commit to four more years of military service
  • The family member receiving the education benefits is enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
    • An online platform used to track military benefits 

Spouses receiving transferred benefits may use them as soon as the transfer is approved by the Department of Defense (DoD). They can use them regardless of whether the military member is still on active duty or after they have separated from service. However, spouses cannot receive the monthly housing allowance. Once members separate from active duty, spouses have 15 years to use transferred benefits before they expire.

Children receiving transferred benefits can only start using them once the military member finishes at least 10 years of service. Before they can use any benefits, they must receive a high school diploma or GED or be at least 18 years of age. Children who qualify are usually eligible to receive the monthly housing allowance. They can use transferred benefits until reaching 26 years of age.

Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty

The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty is available to active-duty members of the military. It provides monthly payments that can be used to pay for education and training expenses. Unlike the Post-9/11 bill, it does not pay for related expenses like housing, books, or relocation. 

Requirements to Qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty

Veterans who served at least two years of active-duty military service and have received an honorable discharge may qualify to receive up to 36 months of benefits. Additionally, they must fall into one of the following categories of eligibility:

Category I 
All of the below must be true:One of the below must be true:
Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit
Began active duty military service for the first time after June 30, 1985Have had at least $100 docked from military pay for the first 12 months of service 
Served continuously for three years
Served continuously for two years IF member was in a two-year commitment at the beginning of his or her military service
Served a total of four years IF member entered the Selected Reserve within one year of leaving active duty
Category II
All of the below must be true: Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit
Entered active duty before January 1, 1977 (OR before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977)Served at least one day between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or through June 30, 1987, if the member entered the Selected Reserve within one year of leaving active duty and served 4 years total)Had at least one day of entitlement left under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989
Category III
All of the below must be true:One of the below must be true:
Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit
Do not qualify under Category I or IIHave had at least $1,200 docked from military pay before separation
Were on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated (not by your choice) after February 2, 1991
Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993
Voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) program OR the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
Category IV
All of the below must be true:One of the below must be true:
Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit
Have had at least $100 docked from military pay for 12 months OR made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution
Were on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date, and chose the Montgomery GI Bill before October 9, 1997
Entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32 USC between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, AND chose the Montgomery GI Bill between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997
Types of Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty provides the following types of benefits:

  • Tuition assistance for college and non-college degrees
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Flight training
  • Licensing and certification
  • Correspondence courses
  • Help to pay for national tests
  • Work-study
  • Tutorial assistance

Most veterans who qualify for this program are required to use their benefits within 10 years before they expire. 

Benefit Amounts

The total amount of benefits a veteran may receive through this program varies depending on several factors, including the following:

  • Length of military service
  • The type of education or training program
  • Category of eligibility
  • Whether they qualify for a college fund
  • How much money they have paid into the $600 Buy-Up program
    • This program allows veterans to make additional contributions from their military pay each month to receive a higher monthly benefit. 
Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve

The Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve is available to members of Selected Reserve units. Like the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill, this program also provides monthly payments toward education and career training expenses.

Requirements to Qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve

To be eligible for benefits through this program, veterans must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Complete initial active duty for training (IADT)
  • Receive a high school diploma, High School Equivalency Diploma, or GED before finishing IADT* 
  • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit**

*Individuals cannot use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement.

**Individuals will still qualify if they are discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct.

In addition to meeting the above requirements, veterans must meet one of the following:

  • Have a six-year service commitment in the Selected Reserve
  • Be an officer in the Selected Reserve with an agreement to serve six years in addition to the initial service commitment
Types of Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve program provides the following types of benefits: 

  • Tuition assistance for college and non-college degrees
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Flight training
  • Licensing and certification
  • Correspondence courses
  • Help to pay for national tests
  • Work-study
  • Tutorial assistance

Veterans Cemetery Grants Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program to provide funding to states, U.S. territories, and Native American tribes to create, expand, improve and maintain veteran cemeteries. It operates in conjunction with the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) to provide gravesites for veterans.

Individual veterans cannot directly receive grant money from the VA through this program. Instead, the VA provides funding to states, territories, and tribes who use it to help local veteran residents.

The VA covers up to the full cost of the development for an approved cemetery project. States, territories, and Native American tribes interested in creating new cemeteries can request operating equipment from the VA as well. However, the department will not cover the cost of purchasing the land.

All cemeteries constructed or maintained by VA grant money must operate solely for the interment of service members who died while serving on active duty, veterans, and their eligible spouses, and dependent children.

Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Rural Health oversees the Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP), which serves veterans and their families living in rural or remote areas of the country. The goal of the program is to fund outreach opportunities to help ease the transition from military to civilian life for veterans facing additional challenges due to where they live.

The RVCP provides grant money to individual states, local organizations, or Native American tribes to achieve one or more of the following outreach goals:

  1. Increase coordination of health care and benefits
  2. Increase availability of high quality medical and mental health services
  3. Assist families of transitioning veterans
  4. Conduct outreach for veterans and their families

Individuals cannot apply directly for the RVCP grant; eligible recipients are community-based organizations or local, state, or tribal government entities. 

VA Adaptive Sports Grant Program

Veterans looking to improve their quality of life and independence may benefit from one or more programs funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) Adaptive Sports Program. This program awards grant money to local organizations to plan, develop, manage and implement programs to provide adaptive sports opportunities for disabled veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Individuals cannot apply directly for grant money through this program; eligible recipients are non-federal organizations that have experience managing an extensive adaptive sports program. To qualify, organizations must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Affiliated with a National Paralympic Committee or a National Governing Body authorized to provide Paralympic sports
  • Affiliated with a National Governing Body
  • Will host an adaptive sports program for at least 50 disabled individuals or participants that live in at least five different congressional districts

Grant recipients must conduct activities and use the funds in ways that are approved by the Adaptive Sports Program. These include the following:

  • Instruction, participation, and competition in adaptive sports
  • Training and technical assistance for program administrators, coaches, recreation therapists, instructors, VA employees, and other appropriate individuals
  • Coordination
  • Paralympic classification of athletes
  • Athlete assessment
  • Sport-specific training techniques
  • Sports equipment and supplies
  • Program evaluation

All organizations interested in applying for a grant through the Adaptive Sports Program must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM). Access SAM here: https://sam.gov/content/home 

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