THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
With increasing frequency, school officials are requiring the submission of a free and reduced price meal application from all households with children enrolled in their school regardless of whether the household wishes to make application for free or reduced price meal benefits.
The National School Lunch Program, which includes snacks, the School Breakfast Program and the Special Milk Program, require that school food authorities inform households of the availability of the program(s) and how a household may apply for free and reduced prices benefits (7 CFR245.5). However, neither the National School Lunch Act, the Child Nutrition Act, or the regulations and guidance material governing these programs establish a requirement that would mandate submission of an application for free or reduced price benefits. While school officials must make families aware of the availability of free and reduced price meals and may even request that households apply, school officials may not requirethat a household submit an application for free or reduced price meal benefits. A school or school food authority wishing to require income information from all households with enrolled children must secure that income information through means other than the household's application for free or reduced price school meal benefits.
This policy takes effect immediately and does not require retroactive implementation.