Q: I was up late last night and there was an infomercial selling a book about grants. The guy was saying there were grants for everything. Grants to pay off car, to pay off credit card debt, and many others. It was late and I didn’t watch the whole program but are there really government grants for this stuff?
A: I know those commercials quite well and in times like these, they are more common now than ever before. But is there any truth behind free government grants to pay off debt, specifically credit card debt? Is this a promise that is too good to be true?
Well for starters, let’s talk about who’s eligible for government grants…
- In order to be eligible for U.S. government grants, you will need to be a U.S. citizen.
- Each grant has specific eligibility requirements (i.e. below a certain income, perhaps studying for a certain occupation, etc).
- Government grants are geared towards specific uses (i.e. tuition, starting a business, etc). If you apply for a grant, you must be eligible for its purposes and use the funds solely as designated.
Are there government grants for credit card debt?
So these late night infomercials suggest that credit card debt grants exist AND that are seemingly available to everyone! Do these really exist or are they just trying to sell you their books and programs?
Well as someone that has worked in the credit card industry for years, personally I have never heard of grants to pay off credit card debt. Although I had pre-conceived notions that these claims were bogus, I kept an open mind and investigated further.
What did I find?
I searched tirelessly on grants.gov and CFDA.gov (both official government site which catalog all the grants) and could not find a single grant related to credit card debt. If they actually existed, you would find them there!
Conclusion? This is another one of those things that sound too good to be true, because… well… it is too good to be true!
But grants may still help your debt problems indirectly!
So we’ve concluded there are no credit card debt grants but that doesn’t mean there aren’t government grants that might indirectly help your situation. Let me explain…
There may be grants that could help save you money in other areas of your life. In turn, you would have more cash to spend on other things… like paying off your credit cards!
For example, let’s say you get a grant for going to school. So instead of paying all of the tuition out of pocket you are only paying a fraction of it since the grant pays the rest. That leaves you with more cash in your pocket (that would otherwise be spent on tuition) so in theory you could use more of your own money to help your debt problems. But when it comes to grants, please watch out because there are a lot of scam books/programs out there making false promises about them.