Field trips offer many academic and social-emotional benefits for students. As important as they are, they can often be prohibitively expensive. Even when the field trip itself is free, bussing alone makes the cost feel undoable. To ease the burden a little, we've rounded up a few of our favorite field trip funding methods.
Target Field Trip Grants
The Target Field Trip Grant is a national grant program providing teachers with up to $700 dollars for a field trip each year. The grant cycle is open from August 1st to October 1st each year.
Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Education Grant
The Civil Air Patrol offers an Aerospace Education Grants of $250 for teachers interested teaching students about aerospace. Apply to this grant if you're hoping to take your students to an airport, aerospace center or science museum. Grant cycle deadlines are on March 31st and September 30th.
State and Local Grants
Many states and local businesses offer field trip grants to local schools. Some of them are for specific things like green field trips, but others are general. Every state has a number of grants, and they change frequently. The best way to find the right one for you is to search in Google or Bing for 'field trip grants for (your town, county or state name).
Additionally, a number of state arts and cultural councils offer 'Big Yellow School Bus Grants' of up to $750-$1000 to cover the cost of field trips to state arts and cultural institutions. Reach out directly to your state's cultural office to find out specific details.
Donors Choose is an online platform that "empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students." To use it, you post your project on their site, and then individuals and corporations around the country pitch in to fund it. You can even share your projects with friends and family to get extra support. 76% of field trips from Donor's Choose are funded, and most are funded in under a month! Up to date, they've funded over 11 thousand field trips.
Your Field Trip Destination
Many field trip providers have grants and scholarships for local and/or Title One schools. If you fall in either of these categories, reach out to the institution you want to visit and ask about funding options. You might be pleasantly surprised. Funding offered usually covers or reduces the cost of the field trip, but sometimes institutions have a small budget to supplement buses as well.
Sometimes, your Parent Teacher Association will have a budget for field trips, or might have funds to share with teachers for enrichment projects. Reach out to your PTA and present your idea. If they don't have funds on hand, they might be able to point you in the direction of a person, fundraising opportunity or organization that wants to help.