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Mass Cultural Council logo
Students going to see Hamilton in Boston.

Big Yellow School Bus


Due to the delayed passage of a state budget for FY21, this grant process is paused.

When is the application deadline?
There is no deadline. Applications are reviewed on a “first-come, first-reviewed” basis. Grants will be awarded until funds run out.

What does the application look like?
The application is a simple, one-page online form that takes just a few minutes to complete.  All you will need to fill out is:

  • Mailing address of the school
  • Principal name, phone, and email
  • Contact person name, phone, and email
  • Name of the arts, science, or humanities organization being visited on the field trip: this is your destination, such as, “Colonial Theater.”
  • Destination address (please note: the destination must be in Massachusetts.)
  • Estimated date of field trip: Month (your best guess), Year (must be this school year)
  • Short description of the field trip: such as, “We will be taking all the fifth graders to a music and dance performance by Ballet Viva Espana.”
  • Discipline of the program the students will attend is a drop-down list with music, theater, visual art, etc. Choose the one that best describes the program.
  • Number of students attending the field trip (your best estimate)
  • Total estimated cost of the field trip: include transportation costs and admission fees (your best guess is fine.)

Can an independent or faith-based school apply?
Yes, all Massachusetts schools serving grades K-12 are eligible to apply.

My school received a Big Yellow School Bus grant during the 2018-2019 school year. Can we apply again this year?
Yes. Each school is eligible to receive one grant per school year.

Someone else in my school already received a grant for this school year. Can I apply too?
No. Each school can only receive one grant per school year.

What qualifies as a “non-profit cultural institution or event”?
Eligible field trips are to places and activities run by a non-profit cultural institution that provides programs in the arts, humanities, or sciences, such as art and science museums, historic sites, and music, theater, and dance performances. Activities may include performances, educational tours, events, and exhibitions. Types of trips that DO NOT qualify for funding are trips to sporting events, amusement parks, and movie theaters. Field trips to performances by students only are not eligible as funds are intended to provide students with a professional cultural experience.

Can we get a grant to travel to a destination outside of Massachusetts?
No, only destinations within Massachusetts are eligible.

We want to go on more than one field trip in 2019-2020. Can we apply for another grant?
No, only one grant will be awarded per school per school year. You may however consider applying to your Local Cultural Council for funding for additional field trips.

How will we know that Mass Cultural Council received our application?
Once you’ve successfully submitted your online application, a confirmation screen will appear.

How will we know if our application was approved or not?
You will receive an email from the Mass Cultural Council within two weeks of submitting your application telling you whether or not the application has been approved. Be sure your email account is set to allow messages from

How do we get the money?
First, follow the link in the approval email to the one-page contract. Complete this and mail it to the Mass Cultural Council within 30 days of receiving your approval. Your grant funds will be electronically transferred within 30 days after we receive your completed contract. The funds will be sent electronically as a direct deposit as follows:

Public schools: Grants are sent to the town treasurer. Please keep a copy of your signed contract. Your town or city treasurer will likely need it for their records and to help them get your school’s reimbursement onto a warrant. You must contact the town treasurer to access your funds.

Charter schools, schools within a regional school district, parochial, or private schools: Grants will be sent directly to the school or school district.

Boston Public Schools: Grant payments are transferred to BPS and processed through the normal grant process. Contact Bennett Griesmer at

Worcester Public Schools: Contact Linda Nowosacki at the WPS Grant Office at 508-799-3112.

Who arranges for the bus and pays the bus company?
You or your school are responsible for making all bus company arrangements and payments.

Who can I contact for more information?
Diane Daily at 617-858-2709.

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