State Government Grants

Many statements are made about state government grants. These claims suggest, at the very least, that state government grants are available to just about anyone who needs some kind of funding. While all this sounds wonderful, the simple truth is that state government grants have, as all grants do, stringent eligibility requirements that preclude many from applying.

What, then, do state government grants fund? Who or what can be funded? Overall, state grants fund education, housing, transportation, public assistance, and the like. State grants for education are generally secured through the college, university or vocational/technical school the individual is attending. Overwhelmingly, state government grants for education, require that the individual submit a completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). In Minnesota, such grants are administered by the Minnesota State Grant Program, and help students from low to moderately-low income families pay for educational costs at eligible institutions. In Florida, the state’s Department of Education administers grants and scholarships through the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA). All states have such government grants available for education, but, what governs such grants includes income levels, and a clear indication of need.

While claims are made that states have government grants for minority-owned businesses, in order to successfully find such funding requires research. The most time efficient way to conduct such research is to access the Minority Business Development Agency, an agency of the Department of Commerce. Here, one can review current opportunities, determine state grant availability, and help with information about disadvantaged business enterprises, etc.

Industry type and business size are key ingredients in accessing state government grants. One should check with the Small Business Administration (SBA), and thoroughly review and understand industry type and business size. Why? The answer is somewhat simpler than it would appear: industry type along with size are key determinate in obtaining grants – federal, state, and local – and while some are restricted to women and minorities, most are not. Never overlook an asset! Consider every possibility!

Yet, and this is really quite important, most state government grants are not awarded to individuals: despite numerous late-night television claims to the contrary. State government grants, where some of the money comes from federal dollars, and other funds are generated by state income tax or other sources or revenue, are re-distributed to counties, cities, and other local governmental units, and non-profits. These agencies, in turn, provide numerous services as outlined above: public assistance, housing, transportation, medical aid for children, the elderly, disabled, etc.

Public charities are often the recipients of state government grants because they, too, fund numerous health and human services that people need. Food shelves, soup kitchens, transitional housing, half-way houses, job training and placement are just a few ways in which these non profits, through state government grants, provide essential aid and service to the vulnerable in our society.

Clearly, then, what state government grants do is to help safeguard the public good. How it goes about this is at the discretion of the state.

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