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Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Timeline


  • Publicize a CEP Public announcement in venue of your choice:  newspaper, radio, television or any combination of these.
  • Market the CEP program on district/school website, school flyers, open houses, etc.
  • Communicate with district superintendents, building principals, and staff regarding the provision of breakfast and lunch meals at no charge for all students.  Talk about the goal of increasing meal access and participation for all students.
  • (Partial CEP Districts) Begin processing all household applications—including mixed CEP households


  • Conduct the Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP) Enter these students in the Point of Sale (POS) as directly certified.
  • Obtain signed and dated runaway/homeless/migrant lists from district coordinator; enter these students the in POS as directly certified
  • (Partial CEP Districts) Continue processing all household applications—including mixed CEP households


  • If the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) is not 62.5%, conduct DCMP each year of the CEP cycle and review the ISP.  If ISP is higher, a new 4-year cycle can begin with reapplication.


Additional Guidance

Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP)

  • School Food Authorities (SFA's) implementing CEP district-wide must conduct DCMP at least once annually for the required reporting of SNAP/Medicaid on Child Nutrition Management System (CNMS).  
  • This mandatory report of SNAP and Medicaid eligible students in the current year is required for Child Nutrition Program federal reporting (FNS-742 Verification Summary, FNS-834 DC Rate Data Element Report, and CEP Notification List) and should be used for other NYSED education reporting purposes (BEDS, Title 1, State Aid, etc.).
  • SED encourages SFA’s operating CEP to conduct DCMP multiple times during the school year to provide data for other federal, State and local funding that use child nutrition data as a proxy for poverty (i.e., BEDS reporting, Title 1 apportionment, e-rate, etc.).  The DCMP is updated monthly with additional SNAP and Medicaid eligible students.
  • The costs for conducting the DCMP can be allocated to the non-profit school food service account.

Alternate Process for Collecting Income Data

  • The DCMP should always be used as the first step in establishing student economic need.
  • Students not found in the DCMP can be provided the CEP Household Income Eligibility Form and/or Income Survey.  Since Income data is used as a proxy for many education and other purposes in New York State, sample prototypes are provided for this purpose.  Schools can choose to collect this information using a different process as collection of this information is not required for Child Nutrition Program purposes.
  • The cost of processing student eligibility data other than the DCMP for CEP schools cannot be charged to the non-profit school food service account.

Partial CEP Districts

  • Districts may opt to use the Application for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals/Milk to collect household income information from students in both CEP and non-CEP schools to streamline information collection. 
  • A school using a single form must ensure that all information required for non- CEP schools is contained on the form. 
  • The following details the requirements for Partial CEP Districts using a single form.
    • Single forms developed for this purpose must:  
      • Contain all information required on the school meals application;  
      • Include a clear, concise, and prominent disclaimer to indicate that, in CEP schools, receipt of school meals does not depend on households returning the form; and  
    • SFA’s opting to use a single form must be able to:  
      • Distinguish between forms from students in CEP vs. non-CEP households so the SFA can comply with Program requirements related to household applications (e.g., only non-CEP applications are used for selecting the verification sample, conducting an independent review of applications, and the Certification and Benefit Issuance portion of the Administrative Review); and  
      • Cost-allocate expenses for form processing; costs for form processing for students in CEP schools may not be paid from the nonprofit school food service account.

Transfer from a CEP to a non-CEP School

  • A household income form or socioeconomic survey that is not a dual-purpose application cannot be used in the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program (NSLP/SBP) to determine individual student eligibility. If a student transfers from a CEP to a non-CEP school, the new school must process a valid free and reduced-price application or otherwise determine the student eligible for free meals (e.g., SNAP direct certification, homeless, migrant lists).
  • SFAs must provide free reimbursable meals for 30 operating days or until a new eligibility determination is made for a child who transfers from a CEP school to a non-CEP school within the same SFA.  If a child transfers from a CEP school to a non-CEP school at a different SFA, although not required until July 1, 2019, SED strongly encourages SFAs to comply with this 30-operating day requirement and provide free reimbursable meals to these transfer students.

FRPL Reporting in SIRS

  • A student who is not directly certified through the DCMP or income qualified based on the collection of income data from the family, should not have a FRPL record even if they attend a CEP school.
  • FRPL records are only for students who have proven eligibility in the current school year. Report only those students who would qualify as free or reduced-price eligible through one of the certification methods previously noted, independent of CEP. For example, do not report students who receive a meal at no charge solely because the school they attend is a CEP school. 

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