All About Series | February 14, 2024
All About the Clean School Bus Program

With up to $5 billion in funding, the Clean School Bus Program is a historic opportunity to make electric school buses the American standard.

An electric school bus in a parking lot near the US Capitol building.


After years of tireless advocacy by individuals and organizations nationwide, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 delivered a major win for students with the creation of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program (CSBP). 

The historic program designates $5 billion to replace diesel-burning school buses over five years, bringing cleaner air to students across the country.

2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program

Following the overwhelming demand from local communities for electric school bus funding under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates and 2023 Clean School Bus Grants, the EPA announced the third round of funding through the CSBP in September 2023, a $500 million rebate program with applications due February 14, 2024.

The 2023 Clean School Bus Rebates are now closed for applications. Selected applicants are expected to be informed of their awards in April 2024. 

2023 Clean School Bus Grant Program

On January 8, 2024, EPA announced awards through the 2023 Clean School Bus Grant Program, the second round of Clean School Bus Program funding. With nearly $1 billion in awards, the grant program represents a historic step toward clean rides for kids.

2023 Clean School Bus Grants were awarded for 280 school districts with more than seven million students in 37 states, one territory and several Tribal Nations. Interest in the program was extremely high at the local level, as school districts and fleet operators chose to apply for nearly $2 billion in funding – nearly five times the amount originally expected to be awarded, reflecting strong demand for zero-tailpipe-emission electric school buses. Approximately 95% of buses funded by the grants will be electric school buses, and 86% of funding was awarded to school districts in low-income, rural or Tribal communities, which were prioritized by EPA. 

The grant application allowed districts to apply for a minimum of 15 buses and up to 50 buses for school district applicants, and for a minimum of 25 and up to 100 school buses for third-party applicants serving at least four school districts. As in past rounds, funding from the grant program can be used for workforce training and certifications, in addition to school bus purchases and charging infrastructure.

You can learn more about the 2023 Clean School Bus Grant Program awards here

For districts that were awarded funding, here are three tips to get started (find a full list of tips here):

  1. Designate a project manager and engage stakeholders and communities early in the planning process
  2. Start infrastructure planning immediately with your electric utility
  3. Compare available bus models and identify training needs for Requests for Proposals and other vendor contracts.

2022 Clean School Bus Rebate Program

On October 26, EPA released a list of 2022 Rebate award recipients and a waitlist for the first round of Clean School Bus Program Funding, with 95% of awards going to electric school buses. Due to overwhelming demand for electric school buses, EPA nearly doubled its initial $500 million rebate offering and instead made $956 million dollars available for low- and zero-emission school buses.

A map showing how many electric school buses were awarded by the Clean School Bus Program per state and territory.

2022 rebate award recipients must submit purchase orders demonstrating that new buses and eligible infrastructure have been ordered. Find out more information in your award letter or on EPA’s website.

Additional Funding 

If your school district put an electric school bus or charging infrastructure into service in an eligible fiscal year, you may be able to claim tax credits. Tax-exempt entities, like school districts, may qualify for some of the tax credit provisions through direct pay or a transfer of credits. Tax credits may include 45W for Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicles (up to $40,000 per electric bus purchased – read this 2-pager) and 30C for Alternative Fuel Refueling Property (up to $100,000 per single unit of charging infrastructure, for low-income or non-urban census tracts  – read this 2-pager).

You can also explore financing and funding options at the state, local and utility level.


School districts at any stage can get started with the following tools and resources: 

Technical Assistance 

WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative is offering free, independent support to all school districts through one-on-one conversations. Schedule one today!

Many other organizations provide technical assistance and education on electric school buses – view a list of WRI’s partners here. For example, you can join CALSTART’s Electric School Bus Network, which provides peer-to-peer networking and dialogue-driven forum meetings. You can also seek assistance from EPA and its partnersClean Cities Coalitions, and local organizations with EV expertise.