Witnesses said a brown van merged onto 85 in front of the buses, from Ravenscroft High School.
The buses reportedly slowed down. But an 18-wheeler behind them couldn't and rammed into the back of the second minibus.
Emergency crews responded quickly to help the injured students. The accident happened around 1:30 p.m.
"We have five students transported to Rowan Regional by EMS and rescue squad, " said Sgt. S. Small of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "We don't believe we have any major injuries."
The headmaster at Cannon School in Cabarrus County, about eight minutes from the scene of the accident, heard of the accident and immediately sent one of his buses to get the students.