How to Improve School Meals Applications

PDF of this report (109pp.)

By Zoë Neuberger and David V. Sanchez

August 31, 2012

Key Steps To Improve Program Access

By improving school meals applications in the following ways, states and school districts can help families struggling against hunger get healthy meals for their children.  

  • Provide materials in a language and at a level parents can understand.
  • Simplify applications for categorically eligible children.
  • Reduce opportunities for math errors.
  • Encourage eligible families to apply.
  • Encourage eligible families selected for verification to respond.

This paper provides specific suggestions for revisions to school meals applications to help achieve these goals.

Overview

The school meals programs support the healthy development of children and help to ensure that low-income school-aged children have access to adequate nutrition.  The process of enrolling for free or reduced-price meals and the application form itself are the gateway to these benefits.  Typically school districts send home school meals applications and parents complete them at home without assistance.[1]   In contrast to many other income-tested programs, there are no caseworkers dedicated to helping parents navigate the application form or process.  Thus, it is particularly important that these applications be easy to use, provide clear directions, and avoid steps that might deter eligible families from applying.  If parents do not complete and return the application form, their children may miss meals, jeopardizing their healthy development and learning.[2]   Fortunately, eligibility for the school meals programs is relatively straightforward, making a user-friendly application an achievable goal for states and school districts.

As a result of changes in recent legislation reauthorizing the federal school meals programs, every school district in the country had to revise its school meals application for the 2011-2012 school year.[3]  In order to assess the changes that were made and to identify problems that still exist on many applications, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reviewed school year 2011-2012 applications and other household materials, such as instructions, that are available online for each state and the largest school districts.  This review builds on an earlier review, which examined 2010-2011 applications in anticipation of the revisions.[4]

Our review of materials in use by states and large school districts for the 2011-2012 school year revealed that in some instances required elements of household materials are missing and that even when all requirements are met, household materials are not always as simple and clear as they could be.  Applications and other household materials can be improved to streamline the application process and substantially enhance program access for eligible children.

This paper is intended as a resource for states and school districts as they develop household materials related to the school meals programs.[5]   It is not a comprehensive guide to developing these materials; rather, it focuses on a few key elements of the application by highlighting best practices from around the country and pointing out areas where current materials often fall short. 

State School Meals Program Web Sites
Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Delaware Mississippi South Dakota
District of Columbia Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

Click on state abbreviations below for each state's School Meal Program:

To read the full text of this report, click here.

Checklist of Key Features of School Meals Application Materials to Improve Program Access

Provide materials in a language and at a level that parents can understand by
  • Identifying the primary language of each household
  • Conducting all communications in the household’s primary language by providing written and oral translations of all eligibility-related communication, including verification materials
  • Using language that parents with limited literacy can understand and providing application assistance
Simplify applications for categorically eligible children by
  • Providing in the direct certification notice instructions to parents about how to make other children in the household known to the school district
  • Requesting only one case number, clearly describing which number to use, and explaining that it can be for SNAP, TANF cash assistance, or FDPIR
  • Not requesting unnecessary information (income information for adults or children or information about a Social Security number) from households that receive assistance
  • Omitting from online applications the request for income information or information about a Social Security number if the household has provided a SNAP/TANF cash assistance/FDPIR case number or is applying only for foster children
  • Clearly conveying that children in foster care are categorically eligible for free meals
  • Making applications consistent with policies for children in foster care
  • Explaining the process and consequences of including children in foster care as members of the household
  • Stating in the parent letter that homeless, migrant, and runaway children qualify for free meals
  • Clearly explaining the steps parents need to take if their children have not been directly certified and they believe they are homeless, migrant, or runaway
Reduce math errors by
  • Providing options on the application to note different frequencies of income without doing calculations
Encourage families that may be eligible to apply by stating clearly on the website and application
  • That a household may apply for benefits at any time during the school year
  • That children of parents who become unemployed may become eligible for free or reduced-price meals
  • That a single application will be accepted for all children in the household attending schools in the same district
  • That household members do not have to be U.S. citizens for children to qualify for free or reduced-price meals
  • The required non-discrimination statement
  • The income eligibility limit for reduced-price meals
Encourage eligible families selected for verification to respond by including in the verification
  • A toll-free number for assistance and an explanation that families will not be charged
  • Clarification that documentation may be provided for any point in time between the month prior to application and the time of verification
  • Instructions about how households with homeless, runaway, or migrant children can verify their eligibility
  • Instructions about how households with no income can verify their eligibility
  • No requests for information about Social Security numbers

State School Meals Program Web Sites

USDA Model Application

School Meals Homepage: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/

Forms: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/FRP/frp.process.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Application, parent/household letter, instructions, disclosure forms, verification notices, notice of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines
  • Translations (33 languages including English; updated July 2011): Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Croatian, Farsi, French, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Laotian, Mien, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Sudanese, Tagalog, Thai, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
  • “I Speak” form

Reauthorization Policy Memoranda:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/CNR_2010.htm

State School Meals Information

Alabama

School Meals Homepage: http://www.alsde.edu/html/sections/section_detail.asp?section=53&footer=sections

Forms: http://www.alsde.edu/html/sections/documents.asp?section=53&sort=44&footer=sections

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, disclosure forms, verification notices, notification of approval/denial, notice of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release (2009)

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Alaska

School Meals Homepage: http://www.eed.state.ak.us/tls/cnp/NSLP.html

Forms: http://www.eed.state.ak.us/tls/cnp/NSLP2.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, disclosure forms, verification notices, notification of approval/denial, notice of direct certification, sample public release.

Back to table.

Arizona

School Meals Homepage: http://www.azed.gov/health-nutrition/nslp/

Forms: http://www.azed.gov/health-nutrition/nslp/2011-2012-program-forms/

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application, information sharing, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial letter, notification of verification
  • English and Spanish

Policy guidance manuals: http://www.azed.gov/health-nutrition/nslp/manuals/

  • Link to USDA’s October 2011 eligibility manual

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Arkansas

School Meals Homepage: http://cnn.k12.ar.us/

Forms: http://cnn.k12.ar.us/documents/forms.aspx

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notice of approval/denial, verification notices, notice of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines
  • English and Spanish

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California

School Meals Homepage: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/

Forms: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/eligmaterials.asp

  • 2011-2012 eligibility guidelines, sample public release (updated 2005)

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Colorado

School Meals Homepages: http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_nutrition.htm,
http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdenutritran/nutriprograms.htm

Forms: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdenutritran/nutriformsbook.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, sharing information form, sample public release
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations of application packets
  •  

Policy Memorandum: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdenutritran/nutripdfdocs.htm

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Connecticut

School Meals Homepage: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=320676

Forms: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=320680

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application, instructions, notification letter, notification of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information forms, sample public release
  • Link to USDA translations

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Delaware

School Meals Homepage: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/students_family/nutrition/

Forms: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/students_family/nutrition/

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Letter, instructions, application, sharing information form, FAQ
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations

Back to table.

District of Columbia

School Meals Homepage: http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/Food+Services

Forms: http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/Food+Services/Application+for+Free+and+Reduced+Meals/Application+for+Free+and+Reduced+Meals

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application
  • English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Amharic

Online application: https://mealapps.dcps.dc.gov/lfserver/eform

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Florida

School Meals Homepage: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/divisions/fnw/national_school_lunch.html

Florida’s forms have been removed from the internet. In September 2011, we reviewed Florida’s 2011-2012 English-language parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notice of eligibility, notification of direct certification, and notification of verification.

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Georgia

School Meals Homepage: http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/fbo_nutrition.aspx

Forms: http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/Finance-and-Business-Operations/School-Nutrition/Pages/Free-and-Reduced-Price-Policy.aspx

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of direct certification, information sharing, notification of approval/denial, notification of verification, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations

Back to table.

Hawaii

School Breakfast Homepage: http://ohcnp.k12.hi.us/programs/breakfast.html

School Lunch Homepage:  http://ohcnp.k12.hi.us/programs/lunch/index.html

Forms: http://ohcnp.k12.hi.us/programs/lunch/index.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, sharing information form, income eligibility guidelines
  • Link to USDA translation

Back to table.

Idaho

School Meals Homepage: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/nslp/

Forms: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/nslp/freeReducedApp.htm

  • Parent/household letter, instructions, applications, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release
  • English and Spanish

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Illinois

School Meals Homepage: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/nutrition/htmls/national_school_lunch.htm

Forms: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/nutrition/htmls/household_eligibility.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations

Administration Resources and Verification Forms: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/nutrition/htmls/forms_sbn.htm

  • Also includes link to USDA’s October 2011 eligibility manual

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Indiana

School Meals Homepage: http://www.doe.in.gov/student-services/nutrition/school-nutrition-programs

Forms: http://www.doe.in.gov/student-services/nutrition/snp-free-and-reduced-price-forms

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of error found on submitted application, sharing information form
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations

Verification forms:  http://www.doe.in.gov/student-services/nutrition/snp-verification

Free and Reduced Price information: http://www.doe.in.gov/student-services/nutrition/snp-free-and-reduced-information

  • Includes link to USDA’s October 2011 eligibility manual

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Iowa

School Lunch Homepage: http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=369&Itemid=402

Forms: http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=369&Itemid=402

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of verification, income eligibility guidelines
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations
  • Link to USDA’s October 2011 eligibility manual

Back to table.

Kansas

School Meals Homepage: http://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Menus/SNP_Home.htm#top

Forms: http://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Menus/SNP_Admin_Program_Renewal_2012.htm

  • For school year  2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of verification, notification of benefit decrease, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release, guidance for administrators

Forms Translations: http://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Menus/SNP_Admin_Foreign_Language_Translations.htm

  • Spanish and link to USDA translations

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Kentucky

School Meals Homepage: http://scn.ky.gov/nslp.htm

Forms: http://scn.ky.gov/nslp.htm (Updated forms are under “What’s new,” titled “2011-2012 Prototype Household Application”)

  • For school year 2011-2012 (as well as old material still posted)
  • Letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form, notification of verification, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification
  • Resources for administrators, school meals brochures, 2008 (outdated) USDA eligibility manual

Back to table.

Louisiana

School Meals Homepage: http://www.doe.state.la.us/offices/nutritionsupport/nslp.html

Forms: http://cnp.doe.state.la.us/DNAMemos/Forms.asp

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form, notification of verification, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, sample public release

Resources for Administrators: http://cnp.doe.state.la.us/DNAMemos/DNAResources.asp

  • Link to USDA translations

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Maine

School Meals Homepage: http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs/

Forms: http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs/forms_tab.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of eligibility, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form
  • English, French (letter and instructions only), and link to USDA translations (titled “Somali Packet”)

Verification Forms: http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs/verif.html

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Maryland

School Meals Homepage: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/schoolnutrition/nutr_prog/school_lunch.htm

  • Income eligibility guidelines

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Massachusetts

School Lunch Program Homepage: http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/nprograms/nslp.html

School Breakfast Program Homepage: http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/nprograms/sbp/

Forms: http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/free_red/

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application, notification of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form, notification of approval/denial, notification of verification, hearing procedure guidelines
  • Link to USDA translations

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Michigan

Homepage: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_6569_29919---,00.html

Forms: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-43092_50144-194552--,00.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, eligibility criteria, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, sharing information form
  • English and Spanish

Verification information: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-43092_50144-222884--,00.html

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Minnesota

School Meals Homepage: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/FNS/SNP/index.html

Forms: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/FNS/SNP/AppStuMeals/index.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, eligibility criteria
  • Memos to administrators
  • English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish; link to USDA translations

Direct Certification Forms:
http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/FNS/SNP/AppStuMeals/DirectCert/index.html

Verification Forms: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/FNS/SNP/AppStuMeals/Verif/index.html

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Mississippi

National School Lunch Homepage: http://www.healthyschoolsms.org/nutrition_services/nslp.htm

  • Link to USDA translations

School Breakfast Homepage: http://www.healthyschoolsms.org/nutrition_services/nsbp.htm

Forms: http://www.healthyschoolsms.org/nutrition_services/MealApplications.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, applications, income eligibility guidelines

Back to table.

Missouri

National School Lunch Homepage: http://dese.mo.gov/divadm/food/Lunch_Program.html

School Breakfast Homepage: http://dese.mo.gov/divadm/food/Breakfast_Program.html

Forms: http://dese.mo.gov/divadm/food/Handbooks.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of direct certification, notification of approval/denial, sharing information form, notification of verification  (in “Verification guidance” document)
  • Sample public release, income eligibility guidelines, guidance for administrators, USDA eligibility manual (October 2011)

Back to table.

Montana

School Meals Homepage: http://www.opi.mt.gov/schoolfood/index.html

Forms:
http://www.opi.mt.gov/Programs/SchoolPrograms/School_Nutrition/index.html#gpm1_4 (under “Free and Reduced School Meals”)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, notification of change in eligibility, notification of direct certification
  • Memos to administrators, sample public release

Back to table.

Nebraska

School Lunch Homepage: http://www.education.ne.gov/ns/nslp/

Forms: http://www.education.ne.gov/ns/forms/nslpforms/index.html
(Click “Application - Income eligibility guidelines” to see application forms and “Application – Verification” to see verification forms)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notice of change in benefits, notification of selection for verification, sharing information form, income eligibility guidelines
  • Resources for administrators, link to USDA eligibility manual (October 2011)

Translated forms: http://www.education.ne.gov/ns/forms/nslpforms/usda.html

  • Spanish and link to USDA translations

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Nevada

School Meals Homepages: http://www.doe.nv.gov/CNSH.htm, http://www.doe.nv.gov/NSLP.htm

Application packet: http://www.doe.nv.gov/PDFs/1-NumberedMemos/2010-2011/2011-03-25_NSLP-2011-44_SY2012_FRLApplication.pdf (available on http://www.doe.nv.gov/NumberedMemos_2010-2011.htm)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, sharing information form, notification of verification, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification

2011-2012 memos (including memo about USDA translations): http://www.doe.nv.gov/NumberedMemos_2011-2012.htm

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New Hampshire

School Meals Homepage: http://www.education.nh.gov/program/nutrition/school_lunch.htm

  • Link to October 2011 eligibility manual

Forms: http://www.education.nh.gov/program/nutrition/nslp_application.htm
http://www.education.nh.gov/program/nutrition/verification.htm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, sharing information form, income eligibility guidelines, notification of direct certification, notification of verification

Back to table.

New Jersey

School Meals Homepage: http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school.html

School Lunch Homepage: http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school_lunch.html

School Breakfast Homepage: http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school_breakfast.html

Forms: http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/applic/forms/ (under “Food and Nutrition”)

  • Notification of verification (English and Spanish), income eligibility guidelines, notification of incomplete application (English and Spanish), notification of approval/denial, sharing information form

Back to table.

New Mexico

School Meals Homepage: http://www.ped.state.nm.us/nutrition/index.html

  • Link to 2008 USDA eligibility manual

Back to table.

New York

Child Nutrition Homepage: http://portal.nysed.gov/portal/page/pref/CNKC

  • Link to USDA eligibility manual (October 2011)

Forms: http://portal.nysed.gov/portal/page/pref/CNKC/Eligibility/2012-2013PolicyBooklet.htm (or see “Need to Know” or “Eligibility” section on homepage)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release
  • English and Spanish

Verification Information:

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North Carolina

School Meals Homepage: http://childnutrition.ncpublicschools.gov/programs/

Forms: http://childnutrition.ncpublicschools.gov/free-reduced-school-meals/2011-12

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of verification, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form

Back to table.

North Dakota

National School Lunch Homepage: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/child/snp/nslp/index.shtm

  • Link to USDA eligibility manual (October 2011), guidance for administrators

School Breakfast Homepage: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/child/snp/sbp/index.shtm

Forms: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/child/snp/tools/index.shtm

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application, notification of direct certification, notification of approval/denial, notification of change in benefits, notification of verification, income eligibility guidelines

Back to table.

Ohio

School Meals Homepage: http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEPrimary.aspx?page=2&TopicID=828&TopicRelationID=485

Forms: http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=828&ContentID=1113&Content=110702

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, sharing information form, sample flier, notification of verification, notification of direct certification,
  • Link to USDA translations, materials for administrators

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Oklahoma

School Meals Homepage: http://ok.gov/sde/node/20

Forms: http://ok.gov/sde/child-nutrition-documents (Under “Policy Statement/Attachments”)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, application, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of verification, sample public release, income eligibility guidelines
  • 2008 USDA eligibility manual, materials for administrators

Back to table.

Oregon

School Meals Homepage: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=207

Forms: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=3316

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, sharing information form, notification of direct certification, online application instructions
  • 2008 USDA eligibility manual
  • English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese

Verification Forms: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=3315

Administrator Resources: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1997

Online Application: https://district.ode.state.or.us/apps/frlapp/

  • Parent/household letter precedes the application
  • English and Spanish

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Pennsylvania

School Lunch Homepage:
http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/national_school_lunch/7487

Online Application: https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/COMPASS.Web/CMHOM.aspx

  • COMPASS allows households to apply for numerous benefits. Click “Apply for Benefits” on the left hand side and select “Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications” once in the system
  • English and Spanish

Back to table.

Rhode Island

School Meals Homepage: http://www.ride.ri.gov/Finance/Nutrition/

School Lunch Homepage: http://www.ride.ri.gov/Finance/Nutrition/national.aspx

Back to table.

South Carolina

Health and Nutrition Homepage: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/os/Health-and-Nutrition/

Forms: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/os/Health-and-Nutrition/documents/FoodServiceProgramManual2010rev043012.pdf (sample forms are found in section 3c of this document; this document is available on the above homepage)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instruction, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of verification, sample public release
  • Link to USDA translations (in section 4 of this document)

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South Dakota

School Meals Homepage: http://doe.sd.gov/cans/nslp.asp

Forms: http://doe.sd.gov/cans/nslp.asp (Click “Attachments” under “2011-12 NSLP/SBP Applications for Renewing Agencies”)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial

For verification forms, click “51.4 Verification Guidance of Application for Meal Benefits” or use this link: http://www.doe.sd.gov/cans/documents/NSLP_Verificationguidance.doc

Back to table.

Tennessee

School Meals Homepage: http://www.tennessee.gov/education/support/nutrition.shtml

Back to table.

Texas

Food and Nutrition Homepage: http://www.squaremeals.org/

School Breakfast Program: http://www.squaremeals.org/Programs/SchoolBreakfastProgram.aspx

School Lunch Program: http://www.squaremeals.org/Programs/NationalSchoolLunchProgram.aspx

Forms: http://www.squaremeals.org/Programs/NationalSchoolLunchProgram/NSLPAdministrationampForms/SchoolMealApplicationsandVerification.aspx

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of direct certification, notification of approval/denial, notification of verification, other verification forms
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations

Texas NSLP policies (updated for 2011-2012): http://www.squaremeals.org/Programs/NationalSchoolLunchProgram/NSLPPolicyampARM.aspx

  • Link to October 2011 USDA eligibility manual

Back to table.

Utah

School Meals Homepage: http://www.schools.utah.gov/cnp/

School Lunch Homepage: http://www.schools.utah.gov/cnp/National-School-Lunch-Program.aspx

School Breakfast Homepage: http://www.schools.utah.gov/cnp/National-School-Breakfast-Program.aspx

Forms: http://www.schools.utah.gov/cnp/National-School-Lunch-Program/applications.aspx

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form, guide to children with special dietary needs
  • English, Spanish, and link to USDA translations
  • We reviewed Utah’s notification of verification, notification of approval/denial, and notification of direct certification in September 2011, but these forms are no longer online

Back to table.

Vermont

School Meals Homepage: http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_nutrition/school_nutrition.html

Forms: http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_nutrition/school_nutrition/program_info.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, notification of verification, notification of changes in benefits
  • Link to USDA translations
  • Link to October 2011 USDA eligibility manual

Back to table.

Virginia

School Meals Homepage: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/nutrition/programs/index.shtml

Back to table.

Washington

School Meals Homepage: http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/Programs/NSLBP/default.aspx

Forms: http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/Programs/NSLBP/default.aspx (Under “Resources”)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions (“What must be on the application?”), application, income eligibility guidelines

Policy memos: http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/Programs/NSLBP/Bulletins.aspx

Training materials on NSLP:
http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/Programs/NSLBP/TrainingMaterials.aspx

Back to table.

West Virginia

School Nutrition Homepage: http://wvde.state.wv.us/nutrition/snp.html

Forms: http://wvde.state.wv.us/ocn-download/Forms/NSLP/2012/FreeRed/

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, notice of approval/denial, income eligibility guidelines

Back to table.

Wisconsin

School Meals Homepage: http://dpi.wi.gov/fns/

School Lunch Homepage: http://dpi.wi.gov/fns/nslp1.html

School Breakfast Homepage: http://dpi.wi.gov/fns/sbp1.html

Forms: http://dpi.wi.gov/fns/fincou1.html

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, sharing information form, notification of verification, notification of approval/denial, notification of direct certification, income eligibility guidelines, sample public release, fair hearing procedures, policy memos for administrators
  • English, Spanish, Hmong, and link to USDA translations
  • October 2011 USDA Eligibility Manual

Back to table.

Wyoming

School Nutrition Homepage: http://edu.wyoming.gov/Programs/nutrition.aspx

School Lunch and Breakfast Homepage:
http://edu.wyoming.gov/Programs/nutrition/national_school_lunch_program.aspx

Forms: http://edu.wyoming.gov/Programs/nutrition/national_school_lunch_program.aspx (Under “Local Education Agency (LEA) Forms”)

  • For school year 2011-2012
  • Parent/household letter, instructions, application, income eligibility guidelines, sharing information form
  • USDA tools for administrators, October 2011 USDA eligibility manual

Back to table.

End notes:

[1] Any adult in the household may complete an application on behalf of a child in the household.  There is no requirement that the adult be a parent or legal guardian of the child.  For the sake of brevity, this paper refers to the adult completing the application as the parent.

[2] Some children are automatically enrolled for free meals as a result of direct certification and no application is necessary.  In addition, school officials are permitted to complete an application on behalf of a child if they have information indicating that the household is eligible.  See 7 C.F.R § 245.6(d) and Food and Nutrition Service, Eligibility Manual for School Meals, USDA, October 2011, p. 27, www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/guidance/EliMan.pdf.

[3] See P.L. 111-296, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111s3307enr/pdf/BILLS-111s3307enr.pdf

[4] See Zoë Neuberger and Abby Lane, A Unique Opportunity to Improve School Meals Applications, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 2011, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3479.

[5] The legal responsibility for developing applications and other household materials falls on local educational agencies (LEAs), although many states provide model materials or approve local forms.  This paper uses the term “school district” to refer to local education agencies.

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