For some teachers, field trips may seem to be out of reach due to a variety of reasons. In recent years, many school districts have not been able to afford transportation to field trip sites. This means that the cost of transportation is passed onto the students and becomes cost prohibitive. In other cases, the cost of the field trip itself keeps teachers from booking a trip because their student demographic cannot afford to pay the site fee. Luckily, many places offer field trip grants. These grants allow students to participate in field trips for either a reduced fee or for free. Check out these grant opportunities below!
The Target Corporation awards $700 grants to teachers for field trips. There is an online application to fill out. The grant cycle is open yearly from August 1 to October 1.
While many teachers use DonorsChoose to fund classroom supplies or projects, it can also be used to fund field trips. Teachers must be employed by a public school in order to use DonorsChoose.
Big Yellow School Bus Grants
Big Yellow School Bus Grants are given out by state arts councils. The grants cover transportation costs for educational field trips to art galleries, museums, music, dance, or theatre performances. The grants may also be used to cover admission fees. Grant amounts vary depending on the state with a range of $250-750. Guidelines can be found here for the following states: Ohio, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. All other states should contact their state arts councils.
State Parks and Historical Sites
Many states offer grants that cover transportation costs to parks and historical sites. Teachers should check with their state’s department of natural resources for more information on grant opportunities.
The state of Illinois has two grants for field trips. The biodiversity grant covers transportation to state parks, while the historical site grant covers transportation to state historical sites. Grants are due by January 31st of each year. These grants are reimbursement grants, meaning that schools will receive the grant money after the field trip occurs.
The state of Indiana has a grant called Discover the Outdoors. The grant is open to K-12 schools in Indiana. It provides a $250 grant for transportation to an Indiana State Park or Reservoir. The field trip must include a program with a state park naturalist. Applications are accepted May 1-June 30 for the upcoming academic year.
Many zoos offer grants to schools. Teachers should contact their local zoos to see if grants are available for field trips and programs.
For example, Lincoln Zoo in Chicago, Illinois offers scholarships that cover transportation costs and the cost of the zoo explorer program–a 55 minute hands-on investigation of specimens and objects. Scholarships are based on the needs of the students.
The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana offers an Educational Assistance Program that covers admission and transportation costs to low-income schools. Applications open in March for field trips scheduled from April-October.
The San Antonio Zoo in San Antonio Zoo offers field trip funds for Title I schools who register for a self-guided tour from September-February. However, funds are not guaranteed due to limited funds.
Just like zoos and state parks, many science museums offer field trip grants to teachers. When researching field trips to science museums, contact the education coordinator of the museum you are interested in visiting and ask them if they have grant opportunities.
The Air Zoo: Aerospace and Science Experience, a Smithsonian affiliated museum in Michigan offers scholarships to schools that have at least 50% of their student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch program. Scholarships are awarded three times a year.
The Mojave Environmental Consortium provides two types of grants to teachers. It provides a transportation grant for in-person fields. It also provides a virtual field trip grant to teachers. The grant provides funding for the virtual field trip and any supplies that are needed for the trip up to $600.
Many aquariums throughout the United States also offer field trip grants. For example the Georgia Aquarium offers a grant to Title I schools who have 60% of their student population on the free and reduced lunch program. The grant covers the admission to the aquarium.
Many organizations will help fund field trips that focus on history.
History Field Trips
Many organizations will help fund field trips that focus on history.
If you are planning a trip to a site that is related to the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, or the Civil War, consider applying for the American Battlefield Field Trip Fund. This fund can be used for transportation costs, admission, and guide fees. Funds up to $1500 are given out to schools.
The Society of Indian Pioneers provides field trip grants to Indiana teachers in grades 4-12. Grants are $500 and to be used for transportation to a historical museum or site in the state of Indiana. Preference is given to applicants who are seeking help with a pioneer era trip (1800-1850).
The Society of Architectural Historians provides field trip grants to underserved students in grades 3-12. The field trips must focus on architecture, parks, gardens, neighborhoods, and town/city centers. In addition, the field trip site must be a not-for-profit organization. Deadlines for applying for this grant are June 1 and December 1.
The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan offers two field trip scholarships-one for admissions and one for transportation. The admissions grant covers admission to either the Henry Ford Museum or Greenfield Village. The transportation scholarship is a reimbursement fund, meaning that the school will be reimbursed after the field trip occurs. It covers transportation costs to the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, or the Giant Screen Experience. 30% of the school’s population must participate in the free and reduced lunch program in order to apply for the grant.
As you can see, the opportunity for field trip grants is far reaching. As you begin to plan a field trip, remember to do the following steps:
- Check with the field trip site and ask if there are any grants or reduced fees in place for schools.
- Know your school’s Title 1 status and the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches.
- Ask about the application process and deadlines.
- Routinely search the Internet for field trip grants.
So, I’m going ‘out on a limb’ here. Hopefully a parent of my previous students does not read this article. However, with that being said none of my students were harmed or were in any potential harm.
The Field Trip 101 checklist is to assist you in planning at a high level, and to help guide conversations to determine the particulars of the field trip, and ultimately save you and those around you time!
Maybe you aren’t adventurous, but rather, you are an entertainer. Actors, singers, and even stand-up comedians provide some much-needed entertainment for the world