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Accelerating the Transition to Electric School Bus Fleets: EPA Grant Program Round 2
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Accelerating the Transition to Electric School Bus Fleets: EPA Grant Program Round 2

This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the second round of grant funding in its Clean School Bus Program. The $400 million available in this round will further accelerate the nation’s transition to electric school bus fleets and presents a great opportunity for school districts to ensure cleaner air, better learning experiences and healthier futures for the children and communities they serve. 

This is a complicated process and it is important for school districts to understand how this round of funding differs from the $935 million in rebates that were awarded in October of 2022. 

The most significant difference between this round of grant funding and last year’s rebates is that round one used a lottery system to determine winners, while round two is a competitive grant application. Applicants will have to prove they are serious about integrating their fleets with electric vehicles. As such, successful applications will require significant resources. For instance, the minimum number of clean school buses a school district can apply for is 15. The application process will require that respondents demonstrate they can successfully deploy a larger fleet of buses, including integrating all of the charging infrastructure and working with their utility to provide sufficient electrical service. 

This is where First Student comes in. As the largest school transportation provider and the largest operator of electric school buses in North America, First Student has unrivaled expertise in this area. We have the knowledge, experience and relationships required to not only help school districts apply for this funding, but also to successfully integrate electric vehicles into a school district’s fleet while providing the most efficient school transportation operation, backed by cutting-edge technology and best-in-class drivers. 

In this round of funding, school bus operators like First Student can also apply directly for funding in conjunction with our school district clients. Whether the school district is applying or First Student, working as our partner in the application process gives school districts a leg-up. The knowledge and innovation the First Student electrification team brings is widely recognized in the industry and among decision makers overseeing the Clean School Bus Program. In the first round of funding, First Student secured nearly $79 million in rebates for 12 school districts, as the largest private operator winner.

Once a school district wins grant money, working with First Student will ensure the smoothest integration of electric vehicles into their fleet. First Student brings unprecedented experience in supplying electrification infrastructure, thoughtful and efficient route planning, strong relationships with utilities and other key stakeholders and advanced technology like above-ground, mobile charging, known as FlexCharge🄬, to guarantee the best experience when transitioning to electric. For school districts that are not contracting with First Student, First Consulting can offer the insight and expertise needed to help them apply for funding and successfully integrate electric vehicles into their fleets. 

The Clean School Bus Program is accepting second-round applications until August 22. We encourage all eligible school districts to strongly consider applying for this funding so they can transform the lives of the children they serve. First Student is here to help, send an email to