What is a Grant?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 January 2020
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When people or businesses seek money to accomplish a specific purpose, like expanding a business, starting one, or going to school, they often look for grants that they may qualify for based on some aspect of their work or some individual characteristics. Unlike loans, which require repayment at some future point, the grant is usually a gift of money to an individual or business to help them fulfill a certain goal. Both governments and private individuals, businesses, or foundations offer grants, and getting one can be significantly helpful.

The simplest government based grants are those individuals apply for funds in order to go to colleges or continue their education. These may be need-based in part, and some are also based on scholarship, in other words, good grades. They generally only require application, certification of income or grades, and filing before the deadline. They usually don’t require long essays, extensive information or other forms of grant writing, but they may be limited as to number. When students are looking for ways to fund college, it’s a good idea to not only apply for federal grants, but also to look for any scholarships from private sources.


Grants from the government may help charitable businesses expand their horizons or defray operating costs. Sometimes grants are given to businesses to allow them to hire experts or merely take on an extra and needed employee. Such a job is called a grant-funded position, and exists as long as funds are available. Some grants are given yearly to the best applicants, and others are renewable provided an individual or company maintains appropriate records and continues to qualify for the grant.

There are many private sources for grants, and it is truly surprising why some grants are given. A grant may be given to forward the political aims or ideals of a certain company, to write a book, to build a house. You can research grant-giving organizations online to see which grants might be applicable to your aims. There are also businesses that specialize in listing grants, scholarships and loans available. Certain books will list the many types and how to apply, and purchasing such a book might be a good idea if you’re unfamiliar with Internet search techniques. Typically, you don’t need a book if you can search online, because there are many free websites that list the different types of grants and agencies.

Some businesses don’t have the time to devote to filling out complex grant applications, and they may turn to a grantwriter to do this work for them. Generally a grantwriter is paid a percentage of any grant received, though some companies hire full-time grantwriters if their financial needs are significant. Learning the ins and outs of filling out applications, including all the necessary information, and presenting a company’s needs in the best possible light takes work and often reaps financial rewards for the skilled grantwriter.

Whatever your business or personal enterprise, it’s a good idea to find out if there are available grants for your type of work. Though filling out the forms can take time, some people are well rewarded with gifts of cash that allow them to fulfill goals and dreams. Start searching the Internet under topics like “Grants for (whatever your field),” to see if there’s something for which you might qualify.



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