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A Guide to Locating Grants and Incentives for Electric School Buses and Infrastructure
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A Guide to Locating Grants and Incentives for Electric School Buses and Infrastructure

While the word “grant” can seem scary and imply a daunting task, the application process is manageable if you follow the required steps and understand the grant cycle. In general, you should expect to complete the following:

  1. Search for and monitor grant opportunities as they are made public. There are federal, regional and state incentive programs that vary by state. They can offset the upfront costs of electric buses and chargers. First Student can help you determine which grants you’re eligible to apply for and which would be the best for your situation. We will partner with you to identify all available incentives.
  2. Gain buy-in from your senior leadership team to apply for the grant. After doing an internal audit of your equipment and facilities, determine if have the green light to electrify your fleet. First Student will help you manage the application process and monitor progress.
  3. Gather the appropriate documentation and necessary information to complete and submit your grant application. First Student has already completed more than 70 grant applications for our customers. We can help you, too!
  4. On average it takes 90 to 150 days to receive results from a grant application. During this time, it’s best to continue working with your local utility to determine any necessary permits that may be required should you be awarded the funds.
  5. It is not until you are approved for a grant that you will submit a purchase requisition to get an approved purchase order in place to order your electric bus.
  6. It can take several months to receive your awarded grant payout. Once that happens, your order can be placed for the bus, which takes eight to 10 months to build.
  7. Implementation requires that your existing diesel school bus must be destroyed and decommissioned. The frame must be cut and photographs must be submitted prior to receiving your funding.
  8. If your grant request is approved, you may also be required to complete regular compliance reports for three to six years after the vehicle is placed in service.

The entire grant cycle from research to receiving funds can last 12 to 18 months, on average. The more prepared you are prior to submitting your application, the better off you’ll be.

It’s typically free to apply for a grant though some may require a minimal fee. It’s important to note that grants can be rejected for a number of reasons, including things like your bus yard being located in a flood plain.

As the leader of school transportation and electrification in North America, we have the expertise to assist you and are here to answer your questions. Contact us directly at to discuss your specific project. We look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

Brian Beechem is the Sr. Director, Operational Tax managing the Cincinnati (HQ) based team responsible for operational taxes applicable to three business segments in North America.  These areas include sales, property, fuel and employment tax, in addition to business licenses and Secretary of State authorizations. Brian has been with First Student since May 2003.