Child Nutrition

Community Eligibility: Feeding All Your Students for Free

This flyer explains how the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the school lunch and breakfast program works. CEP is a federal option that allows high-poverty schools to provide free meals—both breakfast and lunch—to all students without having to collect school meal applications. Instead, schools are reimbursed through a formula based on the number of “identified… Read more »

Hungry to Learn: Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates

In December 2015, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab released Hungry to Learn: Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates. This report surveys more than 4,000 undergraduate students at 10 community colleges from around the country to assess the incidence of food and housing insecurity, including homelessness, among these students. According to survey results, “half of all… Read more »

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility

A person must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible, lawfully-present non-citizen to qualify for SNAP benefits. Non-citizens who are eligible based on their immigration status must also satisfy other SNAP eligibility requirements such as income and resource limits to receive SNAP benefits. Access the policy summary at:

Access to Food for Homeless and Highly Mobile Students

Best Practices in interagency collaboration

This brief is designed for state and local child nutrition program administrators, cafeteria managers, State Coordinators for Homeless Education, and local homeless education liaisons. It explains the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Child Nutrition Division (CND) policies regarding eligibility for free school meals for certain homeless, migrant, runaway, and foster students; addresses frequently asked questions about implementing these policies; and offers tools to ensure that these students can access food both inside and outside of school.

Child Nutrition Brief

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-265) expands federal child nutrition programs in several ways to assist homeless and runaway children and youth by providing:
• Automatic eligibility for free school meals to homeless and runaway children
• Streamlined procedures to document such eligibility
• Full school year eligibility for free school meals
• Federal nutrition funds for shelters that serve children and youth up to age 18

USDA Memo: Effective Date of Free or Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Determinations

This memorandum clarifies the flexibility available to local educational agency (LEA) officials for establishing the effective date of eligibility for children certified for free or reduced price meals in the National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Programs (SBP) and free milk in the Special Milk Program (SMP) based on household applications. Please note, while this memorandum specifically discusses the NSLP, SBP and SMP, this flexibility extends to the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program, as applicable.

USDA Memo: Statutory Change Regarding Child Nutrition Programs

Section 107 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Act) amended section 9(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act makes runaway, homeless and migrant children categorically eligible for free meal benefits under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and is effective July 1, 2004. In addition to establishing free meal eligibility, the Act also establishes a requirement for documenting a child’s status as runaway, homeless, or migratory.