Ensuring that High-Poverty Schools are Hunger-Free Through Community Eligibility

Last Updated: April 21, 2014

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. The CEP uses information from other programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families (TANF) instead of traditional paper applications. In addition to increased participation by children in school meal programs, Community Eligibility reduces labor costs for schools, and increases federal revenues.

Important Dates: On May 1, states will publish lists of schools that qualify to participate in the coming school year. By June 30, school districts must decide if they want to implement community eligibility in some or all of their schools.

To learn more about the US Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Provision, please visit National School Lunch Program's Community Eligibility Provision

For helpful resources on how your state and school district can benefit from Community Eligibility, please go to Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Community Eligibility