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What are Grants?

A grant is an award from the federal government to an individual or an organization, or even a state or local government entity. The grant is not a loan, so it does not have to be repaid. The issuance of the award, which is usually monetary in nature, is mutually beneficial to the government department and the recipient.

The potential recipient (or grantee) requests a grant from the government to fulfill a need, without incurring the full cost of that need or going into debt. The government entity issuing the grant benefits, by possibly meeting an objective of its departmental mission. For example, a local school district is in need of a library update but has no funding for such a project; a government department has the mission of making students competitive, and toward that end it issues grants for updating libraries. Both parties benefit from this type of funding approach.

While a grant is an award without need of repayment, there are stipulations that must be met, according to the grant’s terms and intent: a grant for student aid, to an individual, would most likely require that individual to pass the course and receive credit; a grant to a local police department for vehicles would, more than likely, not be allowed to be used for weapons. Whatever the stipulations may be, they are made clear prior to the award of the money.

Grants can be awarded for almost anything. One must simply qualify, according to the grant’s terms, and apply in accordance to the procedure outlined by the issuing department. The benefit for the government is that it can direct money to where its priorities are.

The benefit to the grantee is that the money is there to assist in accomplishing his or her goal, without incurring debt. Before seeking a loan, it would be of great value for one to check into the availability of a government grant. The chances are good that there is a grant that can meet the same needs, without the need for repayment.