Debt-Relief Grants: Facts in the Fiction

The U.S. Government awards many types of grants, usually for investments on collective social capital; in layman’s terms, a federal grant is awarded to a recipient for the purpose of carrying out a specific objective intended to benefit our nation’s public on the whole. This intent states that grants are not given as federal assistance or as loans to individuals1.

So, are there government-backed debt-relief grants available to individuals, families, or households?

No. Unfortunately, there are not.

There are no government organizations that issue grants to individuals or families for debt-relief. As far as government programs go that do address individual debt relief, there is only one: personal bankruptcy2. Similarly, there is one other government program that helps aid individuals and families financially; it is: the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, more commonly known as Welfare.

While neither of these assistance programs may suit your current situation, it does not mean you can’t use government grants to your advantage. If you can access these grants (i.e., the grant available is eligible for individuals*), it’s possible to use them in ameliorating overall financial burden. As aforementioned, the U.S. government awards many other types of non-debt relief-related grants intended for other uses, most notably, for education assistance. To find out more about grants available for use toward higher education, click here.

Even with the concrete fact of debt-relief grants being non-existent, much fiction still prevails. There are many debt relief-type organizations out there claiming to be backed by the government. Simply input your name, address, phone number, social security number, bank account information, and great-grand-mother’s maiden name (that last one may be a bit of an embellishment), and POOF! Government-funded debt relief appears at your fingertips. In some cases, a payment is also asked for up front; possibly disguised as a “processing fee” or as a payment required to access a secure list of grant-making institutions.  The credibility of these organizations is suspect, and only accurate if the “government” they claim to have ties to is actually an acrostic for “Greedy Opportunists Vehemently Entreating Righteous Neophytes (for) Money Each ‘N (every) Time”.

Thankfully now, you are armed with the facts and will not be fooled by such a scam.

For more information on how to protect yourself from succumbing to fraudulent schemes, the FTC provides some very helpful information in this article: “‘Free Government Grants’: Don’t Take Them for Grant-ed”

Search for Grant Opportunities: Under the “Search by Eligibility” section, highlight “Individuals” in the menu below.


Maryam Farooq

Maryam Farooq

Maryam Farooq is a senior undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is one class away from attaining her degree in Economics and will graduate this May. Prior to her time at UNC, she attended SUNY Rockland, a small college in New York where she is from. She participated in the Sam Draper Honors Program in which she was admitted early as a high school senior. In 2007, she studied Shakespeare abroad at the University of Cambridge.

At SUNY Rockland, she served as Vice President of the Student Government Association and President of Alpha Beta Gamma, an International Honor Society for Business. At UNC, she has participated in Student Government, Economics Club, and Campus Y, a social activism organization. For Student Government, she served as an External Appointee to the Faculty Council, acting as liaison and representative. For the Economics Club, she served on the executive board as Alumni Coordinator in which she chaired the Alumni Coordination Committee. Within Campus Y, she was involved with several committees including the Speakers Committee of the Millennium Village Project1, the Research and Development Committee of the Carolina Microfinance Initiative, and Best Buddies.

Outside of academic co-curricular activities, she takes pleasure in reading, writing, and figure skating; a sport she grew up competing in, but now enjoys recreationally. Before she plans to return to academia for grad school, she hopes to serve in the Peace Corps.
Maryam Farooq

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