According to BusinessDictionary.com, a grant is:
Bounty, contribution, gift, or subsidy (in cash or kind) bestowed by a government or other organization (called the grantor) for specified purposes to an eligible recipient (called the grantee). Grants are usually conditional upon certain qualifications as to the use, maintenance of specified standards, or a proportional contribution by the grantee or other grantor(s).
So what is the difference between a scholarship and a grant? Scholarships are usually merit based, and are awarded by a variety of different groups, such as schools, community organizations, athletic funds, religious affiliations, etc. Grants are typically awarded by state or federal government, and are usually need based (financial status, rural location, area of study shortages). Both can mean free money for college, so it is important that you explore both options.
Before you can apply for a grant, you must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will determine eligibility for supplemental money that you may receive if you are planning on applying for a grant. If the FAFSA determines that you may qualify for additional free funds, then the best place to start your search for grant money is the federal website, Grants.Gov. There are thousands of grants available, and you can search by category, agencies, and eligibility.
The best advice we can give when applying for both scholarships and grants is to apply for as many as you can! By doing so, you increase your odds of getting free money for college, and you also get better at it as you go. Some applications may require more work than others, but it is worth it if you can attend college without having to go into debt from student loans. What do you have to lose?