Who is Eligible?

Determining whether you are eligible to apply for and receive a federal grant is very important. If you are not legally eligible for a specific funding opportunity, you would waste a lot of time and money completing the application process when you cannot actually receive the grant.

When considering eligibility, the first step is to know what type of organization you represent (or whether you are applying as an individual). If you already know whether you will apply on behalf of your organization or as an individual, then you are ready to check your eligibility.

There are many types of organizations generally eligible to apply for funding opportunities on Grants.gov. Each type of organization listed in the categories below is a specific search criterion in Search Grants. Individual applicants are welcome too!

Government Organizations

  • State governments
  • County governments
  • City or township governments
  • Special district governments
  • Native American tribal governments (federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal governments (other than federally recognized)

Education Organizations

  • Independent school districts
  • Public and state controlled institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education

Public Housing Organizations

  • Public housing authorities
  • Indian housing authorities

Nonprofit Organizations

  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

For-Profit Organizations

  • Organizations other than small businesses

Small Businesses

Small business grants may be awarded to companies meeting the size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for most industries in the economy.  


Individual people may submit applications for a funding opportunity on their own behalf (i.e., not on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government). If you are registered as an individual, you are only allowed to apply to funding opportunities that are open to individuals.

Most of the funding opportunities on Grants.gov are for organizations, not individuals. If you are looking for personal financial assistance or other types of funding, check out the Grant Programs section to learn about how to find other forms of funding from the government.

Foreign Applicants

The authorizing legislation and agency policies will determine whether a foreign individual or organization may apply for the grant. Foreign applicants need to complete the same registration process as domestic applicants, but there are additional steps to this registration process.

Depending on the intended usage of the grant you are applying for, you may need to file a U.S. tax return which requires a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), also referred to as an employer Identification Number (EIN). If a non-resident alien is awarded funding to perform activities outside the United States, then this likely does not constitute U.S. source income and a TIN/EIN is not necessary. Examples of such funding include scholarships, fellowship grants, targeted grants, and achievement awards.

Before applying, foreign applicants should thoroughly review the IRS website and search for their most recent guidance for Aliens and International Taxpayers.

Financial Assistance

Are you an individual or family looking for financial assistance? Visit the Benefits.gov site and find benefits, browse State programs, or learn about Federal programs.

We have all seen them; late night infomercials, websites, and reference guides, advertising "millions in free money". Don't believe the hype! Although there are many funding opportunities on Grants.gov, few of them are available to individuals and none of them are available for personal financial assistance. To find an alphabetical listing of federal personal assistance visit the USA.gov website.

Providing Services

Are you a business or organization offering goods or services for the use of the government? Visit Federal Business Opportunities at FBO.gov.

Exploring Eligibility

Exploring Eligibility Blog SeriesLearn more about determining your eligibility for a federal grant in the "Exploring Eligibility Blog Series" on the Grants.gov Community Blog Click to View Exit Disclaimer.