Community Eligibility Database: Take Up of Community Eligibility This School Year
February 25, 2015
This searchable database provides information on which eligible schools adopted the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2014-2015 school year. Community eligibility is a powerful new tool to ensure that low-income children have access to breakfast and lunch at no charge through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. This year the option became available to high-poverty schools and school districts in all states.
Community eligibility allows school districts, individual schools, or groups of schools to offer two nutritious meals daily to all students at no charge if more than 40 percent of their students are "Identified Students" -- that is, approved for free meals without an application because they either have been identified as low income by another program (such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) or are considered at risk of hunger (because they are homeless or in foster care, for example). A school's "Identified Student Percentage" (ISP) is calculated by dividing the total number of Identified Students by the total enrollment.
Under community eligibility, higher-poverty schools receive higher federal reimbursements for the meals they serve. The higher a school's ISP, therefore, the more likely community eligibility will be financially viable. Schools with an ISP of 62.5 percent or higher have all of their meals reimbursed at the highest federal rate, known as the free rate.
By May 1, 2014, each state was required to publish a list of schools eligible for the option for the 2014-2015 school year. CBPP compiled the published lists and combined them with data on schools and districts adopting community eligibility that we collected directly from state child nutrition administrators from September 2014 through January 2015.
For each eligible school, the database lists the state, the school district (also known as the Local Educational Agency or LEA), the school's ISP, whether the school adopted community eligibility, and the school's enrollment, when the state provided those items. The database can be sorted by state, school district, and ISP category. To select more than one option, hold down the Control key when making selections.