COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSPD) -- Grants are being offered to help schools take field trips to the Ohio Statehouse.

One of the biggest hurdles for taking field trips is the cost of transportation, especially for school districts further from Columbus.

"Since the economic downturn the monies for school districts, especially travel, has been extremely tight. This is a way for us to kind of help out those people to get them down here to enjoy this fantastic jewel of a building," said Luke Stedke with the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board.

Grants will be awarded to 105 school districts this year. The online application process will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 17. Each awarded grant will be based on one-way mileage from the visiting school to Columbus. 

Schools that are 1 to 50 miles from Columbus will get $200, 51 to 100 miles will get $300, and more than 101 miles will get $400.

The program was created in 2009 by the Capitol Square Foundation. Since the program’s inception, more than 70,000 students from all 88 Ohio counties have visited the Ohio Statehouse with the help of this grant program. 

All grants will be awarded on a first come-first served basis.

"My prediction is that they'll be gone by 11 o'clock Wednesday the 17th. I'm saying two hours, they'll be gone," Stedke said.

The grants are limited to Ohio students in the fourth through 12th grades during the 2014-2015 academic year. Only one transportation grant will be awarded to each school regardless of the number of buses or students visiting the Ohio Statehouse. A field trip to the Ohio Statehouse can be combined with visits to other educational attractions in downtown Columbus, including the Columbus Museum of Art, COSI and the Ohio Judicial Center.

Once the application process opens Wednesday, September 17-only online applications will be accepted.  All applications must be submitted by an authorized teacher or school administrator. Applications will be accepted until every grant is awarded.