The EPA’s Electric School Bus program, as amended in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), awards funding to school districts and other eligible entities to purchase electric school buses and associated EV charging infrastructure to provide students with a cleaner and healthier ride to school.
The EPA is taking different approaches with each funding solicitation to create a flexible range of opportunities for applying and receiving funding to best suit the needs of applicants. In the Fall of 2022, EPA released the first round of new funding with $500 million available in the form of rebates. For the second round of funding, released in April 2023, the Clean School Bus (CSB) program makes $400 million available in the form of competitive grants. The EPA expects to run another rebate program later this year.
How does the CSB grant program work differently from the 2022 CSB rebate program?
1. The 2023 CSB program is a competitive grants program, whereas the 2022 CSB solicitation utilized a lottery to select winners. This round of applications will be scored based on the following scoring criteria: Project Summary and Approach (10 pts), Environmental Results – Outputs, Outcomes, and Performance Measures (15 pts), Environmental Justice and Disadvantaged Communities (25 pts), Project Location Non-attainment or Maintenance Area (5 pts), and Programmatic Capability and Past Performance (15 pts), Project Sustainability (10 pts), Workplace Development (5 pts), Project Resilience to Climate Impacts (5 pts), Leveraging of Additional External Funds (15 pts) and Budget (15 pts).
2. The 2023 CSB program is one application with two separate sub-programs: a School District Sub- Program and a Third-Party Sub-Program. The School District Sub-Program requires a minimum of 15 school buses and a maximum of 50 school buses. The Third-Party Sub-Program requires a minimum of 25 school buses and a maximum of 100, all while supporting at least four school district beneficiaries.
3. The 2023 CSB Program combines the replacement Electric School Bus and the EV charging infrastructure award to maximize flexibility on the split between funding for the bus and the supporting infrastructure. In 2022, the replacement bus and the supporting infrastructure were separated. See Table 1 below for full 2023 details.
Table 1: Per-Bus Funding Levels and Prioritization Status
|ZE* – Class 7+||ZE* – Class 3-6||CNG – Class 7+||CNG – Class 3-6||Propane – Class 7+||Propane – Class 3-6|
|Buses serving school districts that meet one or more prioritization criteria||Up to $395,000 (Bus + Charging Infrastructure)||Up to $315,000 (Bus + Charging Infrastructure||Up to $45,000||Up to $30,000||Up to $35,000||Up to $30,000|
|Buses serving school districts that are not prioritized||Up to $200,000 (Bus + Charging Infrastructure||Up to $195,000 (Bus + Charging Infrastructure||Up to $30,000||Up to $20,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $20,000|
4. Applicants must request funding from the EPA regional office that covers their geographic project location, and each region has a funding limit. Find your region here.
Table 2: Total Funding and Funding Limits by Region
|Region||Total Anticipated Funding Per Region|