The Assistance tab of USAspending.gov allows visitors to search for information about federal assistance, including grants, loans, insurance, etc. Navigation links on the left side of this page function as the main navigation interface for users. Currently, visitors can search three main categories: by grant recipient, by place of performance, and by granting agency.
Recipient searches can be performed by simply entering a search term in the cell and clicking go. Search for all recipients that include a search term by simply entering an asterisk before the term. The sidebar also provides quick tables for Top 100 Recipients per year, as well as award totals based on the state or congressional district location of the recipients (which is not necessarily where the money is actually spent). The advanced search allows users to modify a simple name search with other factors such as amount of total award amount, type of recipient, etc.
Location searches allow users to find out how much money is being spent in a location. The sidebar permits quick searches by states. The advanced search uses counties, cities as well as other search modifiers.
Agency searches can be done by either selecting a major agency from the sidebar menu or by selecting a year total for an agency from the "Overview by Major Agency" table. Advanced search allows you to modify you search by changing factors such as the year, type of award granted, type of recipient, etc. The advanced search also allows you to search for sub-offices within major agencies and departments as well as minor agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission or the National Endowment for the Arts.
Other searches include exploring federal assistance spending based on the type of awards granted to different types of recipients for each year. Also under the "Other" category, grants from specific programs within different federal agencies are available.
Federal assistance is an authorized expenditure to a non-federal entity for a defined public or private purpose in which services are not rendered to the federal government. The data on federal assistance come from Federal agencies via the Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS), which contains information about federal financial assistance provided via grants, loans, insurance, and direct subsidies like Social Security and all major programs providing transfer payments to individuals, discretionary project grants, loans, or insurance. Federal assistance award data are also derived by a modified FAADS PLUS format from Agencies. Each entry in the database covers the type and amount of financial assistance, the type and location of the recipient and the geographic place of performance. See http://www.census.gov/govs/www/faads.html.