Any student attending a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program can receive a meal. Children from low-income families are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Participating schools receive federal funds for each breakfast and lunch served. See school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for this school year.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE SCHOOL MEALS?
- Children in households with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for free school meals.
- Children in households with incomes between 130 to 185 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced-price school meals and can be charged no more than 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch.
- Children in households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations as well as foster youth, migrant, homeless, or runaway youth, and Head Start participants are “categorically eligible” for free school meals.
- Children from families with incomes above 185 percent of the federal poverty level may purchase a “paid meal.” Prices for paid meals are set by each school district.
Children can be certified for free and reduced-price school meals based on household income via a school meal application or can be certified without an application based on participation in other means-tested government programs.
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