“Free & Reduced Lunch” refers to the program that provides no-cost or reduced-cost school meals and milk to eligible students. To be eligible for free and reduced, families must complete an application and meet income guidelines and household size restrictions. The programs were created to support students unable to pay the full price for meals or milk served under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk programs. Families must meet eligibility criteria each year to continue to receive the benefits. Children from households that meet federal guidelines are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and milk. To apply for free or reduced-price benefits, households must complete the application form provided to all homes. The application is filled out each year to maintain or obtain eligibility. One application should be submitted for all students enrolled in the school district. Students who qualify for free and reduced programs are also often eligible for assistance with school fees and textbooks.
- The information on the application for free or reduced-price meals may be verified by the school or other officials at any time during the school year.
- Households may apply for benefits at any time during the school year. If a family experiences a change in household side or financial circumstance, they can reapply at any time.
- When schools know foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway information, or children enrolled in Head Start/Even Start programs, households will receive a letter of the child’s eligibility for free meals. If a letter is not received, households should fill out an application. Foster children are eligible for free meal or milk benefits regardless of the household income.
- Children enrolled in the Head Start/Even Start programs, Migrant Education Program, or considered homeless, or runaway by the school district’s migrant/homeless liaison, should contact the school for assistance in receiving benefits.
- The Summer Food Service Program for Children (SFSP) was created to serve nutritious meals to children when National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program meals are not available. To ensure all children receive proper nutrition throughout the year, SFSP reimburses organizations that prepare and serve meals to eligible children during the summer and school vacation periods. For summer 2018 SFSP sites, click here.
- IDOE Free and Reduced
- IDOE National Free and Reduced Lunch Program
- IDOE Free and Reduced Price Forms
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