What is the 'Catalog Of Federal Domestic Assistance – CFDA'

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a compendium of assistance programs offered by U.S. federal agencies to the American public.

BREAKING DOWN 'Catalog Of Federal Domestic Assistance – CFDA'

Many of the U.S. federal government's 72 agencies and departments offer grants, loans, scholarships, property, counseling and other kinds of assistance to entities within the U.S. but outside the federal government. Recipients include individuals, state and local governments, companies and nonprofits. These programs do not include foreign aid.

Since 1984, information regarding domestic assistance programs has been compiled by the General Services Administration, which publishes it in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA is available online at www.cfda.gov.

As of Nov. 13, 2017, the federal government offers 2,249 total domestic assistance programs. The Department of Health and Human Services by far outpaces other agencies, offering 521 programs, or 23% of the total. Other agencies offering a high volume of assistance programs include the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Many, but not all, programs offer financial assistance. Examples of individual programs include the Department of Education's Federal Pell Grant Program (84.063), which subsidizes undergraduate education for students with financial need; the Department of Health and Human Services' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (93.558) program, often referred to simply as "welfare," which supplements the earnings of low-income families with children; and the Department of Homeland Security's flood insurance (97.022) program, which is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

These are multibillion-dollar programs, but smaller ones exist to benefit small businesses, for example. The Small Business Administration offers 23 programs, including the Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (FAST, 59.058), which is awarded "to strengthen the technological competitiveness of small business concerns in the U.S." (See also, 4 Government Grants for Small Business Owners.)

Because people tend not to ask questions when offered free government money, phone and social media scams have cropped up claiming to offer easy federal grant money in exchange for personal information or money. Scammers commonly claim to be from the "Community for Federal Domestic Assistance" or CDFA, rather than the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. The real CDFA does not solicit awards by phone or using social media.

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