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EPA Announces New Grants for Zero-Emissions School Buses

The 2023 Clean School Bus grant program has $400 million available to replace fleets in high-need communities. The EPA will allow districts to work with third parties to make applications more competitive.

electric school bus illustration
Another $400 million for electric school bus purchases is available to school districts nationwide through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) grant program.

The EPA announced the latest funding round for competitive applications on April 24. Information sessions for school districts are scheduled for May 10, applications are due Aug. 22, and notifications of awards are expected to be made between November and January.

According to the program description on the EPA’s website, nearly 2,000 school districts applied for CSB grant program funding last year. The EPA awarded rebates to roughly 400 applicants for about 2,600 buses, amounting to almost $1 billion in funding. This year’s program has been redesigned to meet the needs of diverse recipients.

Third parties can partner with districts to assist with technical support and grant administration functions. This would benefit small, rural, tribal and low-income schools that otherwise would not have the means to submit competitive applications. The third parties, however, must serve at least four school district beneficiaries in order to be eligible.

“CSB funding opportunities continue to support underserved populations through meaningful and intentional outreach to increase the number of prospective applicants who would most benefit from reduced emissions through the replacement of buses in their communities,” the program description on the EPA website said.

According to the grant program description, grant amounts are based on the size of the fleets as well as the dimensions of the vehicles that are to be replaced. The per-vehicle (with charging device) amounts awarded range between $250,000 and $395,000.

For school districts seeking a direct grant from the EPA, the minimum number of vehicle replacements is 15 and the maximum number is 50. For districts that work with a third party (on behalf of at least four districts), the minimum number is 25 and the maximum number is 100.

The grant description identified high-need districts across the country that would be eligible for this program by region, and the amount of money available for each:

  • New England (Region 1): $27.39 million
  • New York, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (Region 2): $37.06 million
  • Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia (Region 3): $37.28 million
  • Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee (Region 4): $59.67 million
  • Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin (Region 5): $51.60 million
  • Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas (Region 6): $51.033 million
  • Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska (Region 7): $28.29 million
  • Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming (Region 8): $27.74 million
  • Arizona, California, Nevada and U.S. territories Guam and Northern Mariana Islands (Region 9): $52.08 million
  • Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state (Region 10): $27.83 million
Hawaii was not listed in this grant program.