Grants can be obtained from either governmental or private entities, and can be used to fund a wide variety of different activities. Government grant opportunities are often aimed at businesses for the development of various industries, though individuals can sometimes locate them as well. Private organizations, such as corporations and charities, also offer grants that can support the arts, scientific research, and virtually anything else. There are also a variety of grant opportunities to pay for everything from college educations to expensive transplant operations and associated medical bills. These grants typically must be used in a very specific fashion and often come with reporting requirements.
The difference between a loan and a grant is that grants typically do not need to be paid back. Grants usually come with a stipulation as to how the money can be used, and there may be other strings attached as well. There are usually a limited number of grant opportunities offered by each entity or organization, so many different businesses or individuals often compete for each program. This can make it difficult to secure money in this way.
One of the most common grant opportunities is related to education. Both government and private organizations offer these types of grants, and they can be used in a manner similar to scholarships. Government grants are sometimes provided directly to educational institutions that then disburse them to promising students, though individuals can sometimes obtain them directly. Educational grants may not come with specific grade point or course load requirements, though they often stipulate regular progress reports. This means that a student that has received grant money is often required to write to the grantor and provide information about his academic progress or how the funds are being applied to a specific project.
Other grant opportunities are typically meant to fund a specific project or activity. Governmental and private entities often offer grants to support the arts or social projects. Corporations often provide grant money to fund promising research as well, either with or without specific strings attached. The researchers are typically required to report on the progress of the project, and the company may be interested in purchasing any patents or inventions that result.
Grants can also be obtained for expensive bills, such as the medical expenses associated with transplant surgeries. Many specific types of transplants have associated nonprofit organizations that exist solely to facilitate the relevant operations. Some organizations exist to provide general financial aid for medical expenses, and others offer grants for various treatments and research studies.