Many felons or ex-offenders seek grants and loans for several different reasons. Some may be wanting to go to college or start a small business. You may be thinking that being a felon would keep you from getting a loan or grant but this is not the case.
Grants for felons are specifically set aside by the federal and some state governments in some cases. It is also important to remember that being a felon does not keeping you from obtaining a loan or grant in most cases. All you need to do is know how to grab that free money which we will explain below.
Grants For Felons
What is a grant?
A grant is money that is given to a person that does not have to be repaid. Often grants are issued on a “need” basis. In other words someone that has a full time job making $75,000 dollars a year would not be able to qualify for a grant but someone that makes $10,000 year or nothing a year would qualify because they have a “need” for it. Grants for felons can be issued by the state in which you live or the federal government. Some private institutions also offer grants.
Department of Labor Grants
The Department of Labor; Employment and Training Administration has several grant programs for felons that are pre-release as well as for ex-felons that are out of prison. Most grants are also open to anyone who applies whether they are a felon or not.
These loans cover many different things from housing, transportation, small businesses and community development. You can search or browse all available grants here on Grants.Gov. Simply go to their website, search and then fill out the application package associated with each grant opportunity.
Educational Pell Grants for Felons
Pell Grants are only available for educational purposes and are open to almost all felons. Drug related felonies will bar you from receiving a Pell Grant but this can be overcome if you have or complete an approved drug rehabilitation program and also pass two random drug tests.
Students or aspiring students with criminal convictions have limited eligibility for federal student aid but nearly 100% of cases can be overcome in one way or another. Here is where you can find information on Pell Grants or apply directly.
Pell Grants are available to use at any approved and credentialed college or trade school. Since white collar jobs often discriminate against felons it may be worth investigating blue collar trade schools. Many trade schools offer programs in welding, carpentry, electrical, roofing, drafting/CAD and HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning). Often times we have found that construction and trade type jobs are much more apt to hire a felon than other white collar or office type jobs.
Scholarships for felons
A scholarship is very similar to a grant but the main difference is where the money comes from. Scholarships are generally given by organizations or schools and do not need paid back. It is very possible for a felon to get a scholarship and you should apply for everyone possible. Here is a some scholarships you can apply for. We do not know of any scholarships for felons only but you will be able to apply for 99% of them out there anyway. Often times writing an essay can earn you $1,000 to $5,000 for school or college.
Loans For Felons
What is a loan?
A loan is money that you borrow and then repay under whatever conditions are in your contract. Loan terms can vary greatly so it is advised that you fully read the contract you are signing and/or have a trusted lawyer go over the contract with you. Certain types of loans will have more interest than others, the highest interest loans are short term or “payday loans.” Often times these types of loans have rates from 100% to 2,000%.
Educational Loans for felons
Chances are you will not be able to get enough grant money to pay for all of your education. This will mean that you will have to apply for student loans from the federal government. The good news is that nearly everyone qualifies for student loans since credit scores are not nearly as important as with traditional loans.
Being a felon also does not really hurt your chances of getting a loan either. The criteria for student loans is very straightforward and easy to understand. Student loans can be used for trade schools as well as traditional or online colleges. As with Pell Grants you may have to complete a drug education or drug rehab program if your felony is drug related.
Private Loans for Felons
It is not impossible for a felon/ex-felon to receive a private loan from a bank. The chance is greater if the felony was committed over 10 years ago and you have decent credit. Since the financial crisis of 2008 banks have tightened up dramatically.
There are only three options to get a private loan as a felon.
- You should be able to get credit cards as a felon. Most Credit Card companies do not care if you are a convicted felon or not. They are mostly interested in what your credit score and history looks like. If you have poor credit then you may want to consider repairing it. This can easily be done on your own if you have the right knowledge and instructions. On our books for felons page we have recommended a great book that will give you all the information to clean up your credit and launch disputes.
- If you need a private loan for an invention or small business then you are may have to raise money from private investors. This can be a very difficult task but can be accomplished if you put the time and energy into it.
- Collateral. In other words if you have something of great value then you can put that up for security to the bank or person you are borrowing from. This is high risk for you. If you do not pay the borrowed money back then you will lose whatever you put up for collateral.
Small Business Loans for Felons
The US Small Business Administration has several different loan programs that you may qualify for. Many of the loans and grants that are available are only open to specific types of small business. They have several loan and grant programs and include general small business loans, disaster loans, Microloans and real estate/equipment loans.
Payday Loans For Felons
We hesitate in adding or recommending payday loans for felons or any person. The interest rates are very high and the terms are very heavy in most cases. It is not uncommon for a payday loans to reach very high interest rates. With that being said if used very responsibly you may be able to jump start a small business or avoid a disaster by obtaining a payday loan. If you really need a loan then you should stick with reputable lender like CashAdvance.com.
Going back to school or going to school for the first time is a big decision, whether it is a trade school or college. Make sure that you can and will be able to secure a job in the field that you want to work in long before you ever start school. This will help make sure that you spend your money on something that will help you. In other words if you have a felony conviction for grand theft please do not go to school for accounting!
Remember that loans for felons are very hard to get but where there is a will there is a way. Keep your head up and try every avenue possible. Remember to to check out grants that are available to felons also.