The following are answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us.
What is GovLoans.gov?
GovLoans.gov is your gateway to government loan information. Run by the Federal government, GovLoans.gov provides an online eligibility prescreening tool, the Loan Finder, to help you find government loans that you may be eligible to receive.
GovLoans.gov does not allow you to apply for benefits on the site and cannot guarantee your eligibility for any loan. In addition, GovLoans.gov is not designed to be a comprehensive listing of all loans for which you may be eligible. GovLoans.gov is an effort of many Federal agencies and organizations with a shared vision – to provide improved, personalized access to government assistance programs. For more information about the Federal agencies that make up the GovLoans.gov and Benefits.gov partnership, visit the Overview page.
How can I use GovLoans.gov to find the right loan for me?
There are several ways to find loans on GovLoans.gov. Select the type of loan you are interested in (e.g. housing, education, business, etc.) on the bottom right of the homepage under "Loan Categories" to receive a list of loans. You can also take our confidential eligibility questionnaire [Loan Finder] by clicking the "Start Questionnaire" button on the GovLoans.gov homepage. Your answers will generate a list of loans tailored to your specific needs across all assistance categories.
How does the Search function work?
The Search function finds loan programs related to the words or phrases you enter into the search box. Capitalization is not considered by the Search function. Keep in mind that the quality of your results depends heavily on the words that you use. Here are some tips to make every search more effective:
Make sure that you spell search words correctly. Remember to leave a space between each word in your query. Vary your search terms. A different word or phrase will return different search results. Use fewer descriptive words, or try words that have a different but similar meaning. For example, try Veteran instead of military or Army. Search for exact phrases by placing the search words within quotation marks. For example, "7(a) Small Business Loan".
GovLoans.gov cannot guarantee the return of specific search terms.
Common words, such as a, and, and the are ignored unless you use quotation marks around them. For example, "a" car "and" car, or "the" car.
If your search includes a date, type the name of the month instead of the calendar number. You don't have to type the word AND between your search words.
You can type up to 150 characters, including spaces, in the search box.
What should I know about Government Financial Assistance?
Many people arrive at GovLoans.gov after seeing unofficial advertisements that might have them thinking that the government will give "free money" to essentially anyone for anything. The government will not give you money just because you ask for it.
Government financial assistance serves various important purposes such as job training, nutritional assistance, education, health care and other needs. To receive government assistance, you must complete an application and meet specific eligibility requirements as outlined by each program. Not all assistance programs provide cash loans, and may have conditions and limitations. Government financial assistance comes in many forms; two commonly searched items are grants and loans. Keep reading to learn the differences between the two.
Loans - Are different than grants because they are awarded to an individual as a personal benefit or assistance. You are required to pay back a loan, often with interest. If you are interested in a loan program, you can use GovLoans.gov. Whether you are looking for student loans, help with housing or business needs, or disaster relief, GovLoans.gov can direct you to loan program information that's best for you.
Grants - Federal grants are awards of financial assistance to an individual and/or organization. Grants are used to carry out a government authorized purpose, and are not provided as personal benefits or assistance. Most grants are awarded to universities, researchers, law enforcement, cities, states, counties, and non-profit organizations. We recommend Grants.gov to search and apply for grants. There are also multiple resources on Grants.gov to guide you step-by-step through the Federal grant application process.
Benefits – There are many other types of benefit programs ranging from childcare assistance to The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to educational and training programs. We recommend Benefits.gov to search and apply for these other types of benefit programs.
How does GovLoans.gov determine which loans I may be eligible to receive?
Computer software compares the answers you submit in the online questionnaire with the eligibility criteria for different loan programs. You must answer the first section of questions given to you in the Loan Finder to obtain an initial list of results, which is a list of loan programs that you may be eligible for based on the information you have provided so far in the questionnaire. Though the list of loan programs that you may be eligible for will change as you answer more and more questions, the likelihood of your being eligible for the loan programs on your results list will increase.
Though all other questions after the initial section of questions are optional, we recommend that you answer as many questions as possible to obtain the most accurate benefit results list. GovLoans.gov will ask broad questions about your personal situation and as you answer each question, the next questions will become more specific as the system narrows the list of possible loan programs you may be eligible to receive. GovLoans.gov is completely confidential and will not ask any information that could be used to identify you (i.e., name, address, phone number, Social Security number, etc.).
Why does GovLoans.gov say that I "may" be eligible for loans in my results list?
GovLoans.gov says that you "may" be eligible for the loans in your Results List because 100 percent eligibility for any benefit program or loan depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
- The fact that we cannot guarantee eligibility for any loan or program, as each one requires the completion of an application, which requests more detailed and personal information than what is asked in our questionnaire. Application information for each loan program is obtainable through the "Next Steps" section of each loan description.
- The number of questions you have answered in the Loan Finder. With each additional question that you answer, we can better assess your actual eligibility for the programs in your Results List.
- If the loan or its eligibility requirements change between the time you visit GovLoans.gov and the time you apply for the program.
- If certain life circumstances change between the time you visit GovLoans.gov and the time you apply for the program (i.e., getting married, having children, moving states, changing jobs).
- Having a birthday, which could make you ineligible for age-specific programs
To increase the likelihood of your eligibility for the programs in your Results List, please answer as many questions in the Loan Finder as possible. Since loan eligibility requirements frequently change, you should also occasionally check back with us to get an updated Results List, particularly if your life circumstances have changed.
What if I am helping someone else?
If you are answering the questionnaire on behalf of someone else (including a child), the term "you" applies to that person. Answer the questions as they apply to the person.
How much time will it take to complete the Loan Finder questionnaire?
Depending on your personal situation, please allow 10 to 20 minutes to answer all of the questions. As the length of the questionnaire varies based on your answers, the more loans you may be eligible for, the more questions you are likely to be asked. Having ready access to your personal information (e.g., financial, educational, familial) will enable you to more quickly complete the questionnaire.
Will my questionnaire results stay on the website for future reference?
No. If you exit or are otherwise disconnected from the GovLoans.gov website, you will lose your results list. To avoid losing your results, either print the results by using the print function in your internet browser, or email them to yourself by clicking the "email" icon at the top right corner of the results page.
Do I have to answer every question in the Loan Finder questionnaire?
GovLoans.gov recommends that you answer all of the questions presented or as many as possible if you are unable or otherwise prefer not to answer specific questions. Answering all the questions increases the likelihood that you will be eligible for the programs that appear in your Results List.
What if I want to apply for a loan?
You cannot apply for loans directly on the GovLoans.gov website. For application information, refer to the "Next Steps" section in the program description for information on how to apply for any loan program that you may be interested in.
How do I add a link to GovLoans.gov from my site?
Link your website to GovLoans.gov. Please visit our Link to GovLoans.gov page to obtain downloadable images and details on linking to GovLoans.gov.
How can I contact GovLoans.gov?
If you are still looking for assistance or would like to contact us, please visit our Contact Us page.