Program 101

Program Fact Sheet

What does this program do?

This program assists low-income communities with initial planning and development of applications for USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal direct loan/grant and loan guarantee programs.

Who may apply?

  • Most state and local governmental entities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Federally recognized tribes

What is an eligible area?

  • Rural areas and towns with populations of 10,000 or less. Check eligible addresses
  • Federally recognized tribal lands
  • Colonias  

NOTE: The area must also have a median household income below the poverty line or less than 80 percent of the statewide non-metropolitan median household income

How may the funds be used?

  • Grants may be used to pay part of the costs of developing a complete application for USDA Rural Development Water & Waste Disposal direct loan/grant and loan guarantee programs.

What are the terms for grants?

  • Grants may not be used to pay for work already completed.
  • For projects eligible under several programs, the amount of the pre-development or SEARCH grant will be subtracted from the total grant eligibility as determined in underwriting for the water or waste disposal project.
  • These grants do not have to be paid back if the application for the USDA direct loan or loan/grant combination is not successful.
  • Grants are based on demonstrated need and subject to the availability of funds.
  • Partnerships with other federal, state and local entities are encouraged, and grants are awarded only when the applicant cannot afford to borrow the needed funds.

Is there a maximum grant amount?

Maximum of $30,000 or 75 percent of the predevelopment planning costs.

Are matching funds required?

Yes, at least 25 percent of the project cost must come from the applicant or third-party sources. In-kind contributions do not count toward this minimum.

How do we get started?

  • Applications for this program are accepted year round through your local RD office.
  • Program resources are available online (includes forms needed, guidance, certifications, etc.).

Who can answer questions?

  • Help is always available through your local RD office.
  • Participating non-profit associations also offer assistance and training.

What governs this program?

  • Code of Federal Regulations, 7 CFR 1780
  • Agricultural Act of 2014

Forms & Resources

NOTE: Please select your state in the dropdown menu above to find the state office contact information and speak to a program specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in your application.