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Maximizing Your School Bus Fleet Electrification: The Synergy Between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus and NYSERDA NYSBIP Funding
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Maximizing Your School Bus Fleet Electrification: The Synergy Between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus and NYSERDA NYSBIP Funding

In the wake of growing environmental concerns and the push for sustainable transportation solutions, funding opportunities for electric school buses have set the wheels in motion for school districts and transportation providers across the United States. Two significant programs, the EPA Clean School Bus – Rebate Program and the New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP), have emerged as critical players in promoting the transition to zero-emission school buses. What’s even more exciting is that these funding sources are stackable in New York, making it possible to secure substantial support for electrifying your school bus fleet.

EPA Clean School Bus – Rebate Program Round 3

The EPA Clean School Bus Program opened Round 3 rebate program on September 28th, announcing another opportunity for schools to secure funding for fleet electrification. Similar to Round 1, this round is a lottery process, but the funding structure has changed.

This round is allocating at least $500 million but the difference is dedicating 60% to priority school districts and 40% to non-priority school districts. This allocation strategy ensures that all school districts, regardless of their priority status, have an opportunity to secure this funding. Another difference is the available funding:

Additional Criteria:

  • Can submit one (1) application for up to 25 buses
  • Public charters can self-certify                           
  • School districts can also self-certify as high need – click here for instructions
  • Rebate can only be used for behind the meter infrastructure costs, not applicable to transformer and/or utility distribution line upgrades
  • Workforce training, covering driver and mechanic training and electrician certification, is an eligible expense but no additional funding is provided to cover that
  • Each application will require three (3) supplemental certificates:
    • School District Approval Certification
    • School Board Awareness Certification
    • Utility Partnership Agreement

NYSERDA’s NYSBIP Funding Opportunity

In New York, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has launched the New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP), a first come, first serve $100 million funding opportunity aimed at supporting zero-emission school buses in the state. This program functions as a point-of-sale voucher program and, significantly, has earmarked 40% of its funding to benefit disadvantaged communities.

  • 60% of the cost difference between an electric school bus and a traditional diesel bus
  • Up to $147,000 per Type C electric school bus
  • Additional incentives are available that can increase the funding total to $245,000 for each awarded Type C electric school bus
  • Special provisions made for buses equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology or wheelchair accessibility

A unique aspect of NYSBIP is its approach to charging infrastructure deployment. While specific details are yet to be released, the program is designed to provide incentives for the necessary charging infrastructure, which is pivotal for the successful deployment and operation of electric school buses.

The Stackable Advantage

The most exciting aspect for school districts and transport providers in New York is that both the EPA Clean School Bus – Rebate Program Round 3 and NYSERDA’s NYSBIP funding are stackable. This means that it is possible to apply for and potentially receive grants from both sources for the same school bus. This synergy can significantly enhance the funding available for electrifying your school bus fleet.

To maximize the benefits of these funding opportunities, it is highly encouraged to apply for both. By doing so, you can take advantage of the substantial resources provided by the EPA, along with the tailored incentives and support offered by NYSBIP. This not only helps school districts reduce their carbon footprint but also contributes to improving air quality and the health of students and the community.

Important Deadlines

EPA Round 3 application deadline submission:    January 31, 2024 by 5pm EST

NYSBIP Funding application portal opening:         November 29, 2023

Do you need help?

First Student offers EV consulting to help guide you through this complicated process, but because we are an actual operator of school buses, our consulting extends beyond infrastructure consulting, bus and battery selection, route planning and training. We make sure your electric vehicles work reliably, every day. Email us at to see how we can help your district.`