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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Frances N. O'Donnell, Coordinator
Friday, October 1, 2010
Eligibility of Expanded Learning Time Programs for Afterschool Snack Service in NSLP and CACFP

In response to recent inquiries, USDA has amended/clarified eligibility requirements for afterschool programs for the afterschool snack components of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  In particular, they had been asked whether certain expanded day learning programs are eligible for afterschool snack service.

The afterschool snack components of the NSLP and CACFP were established in 1998 in the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-336, 42 U.S.C. 1766 and 1766a).  They were created to support programs operating afterschool programs with educational and enrichment activities for children in the late afternoon or evening when they might otherwise be unsupervised and engage in risky behaviors.  Program regulations define afterschool care programs as those “providing organized care to enrolled school-age children after school hours for the purpose of care and supervision of children.” (7 CFR 210.2 and 226.17a(b)).  Recently, educational programs aimed at serving at-risk children have evolved to include schools operating expanded learning times longer than the traditional school day.  “Expanded learning time” is a common term used in the education arena to describe schools or school districts that add significantly more school time for academic and enrichment opportunities to improve student achievement.

To date, USDA's consideration of “afterschool” in implementing the afterschool snack components of the NSLP and CACFP had focused on the nature of the program offered by a participating school or other provider as distinct from a school program (e.g. relationship to the curriculum).  However, given the evolution of educational programs, USDA has decided that it is reasonable at this time to consider whether such programs may operate longer than the traditional school day as defined by applicable State or local laws and policies.

Therefore, a school operating longer than the traditional school day may be eligible for afterschool snack reimbursement through NSLP or CACFP, provided that it operates a school day that is at least one hour longer than the minimum number of school day hours required for the comparable grade levels by the local educational agency in which the school is located.  Thus, in determining an expanded learning program’s eligibility for reimbursement, a State agency should first use school day hour data from the particular school’s local educational agency (LEA) as the standard to determine the minimum number of school day hours required.  In LEAs in which all schools operate an expanded learning time program, or in single-school LEAs, the State’s average length of the school day or the average length of the school day of surrounding LEAs may be used to determine the standard minimum number of school day hours.

The clarification set forth in this memorandum for expanded learning time schools does not change the requirements for determining eligibility for traditional afterschool care programs.  State agencies must continue to make eligibility determinations for these programs based on whether such programs are afterschool care programs with an educational or enrichment purpose, in accordance with regulations and policy previously issued.

Finally, schools operating expanded learning time programs may also be eligible for afterschool supper reimbursement through CACFP, if they are located in one of the States currently authorized for afterschool supper reimbursement.

Based on the above, some schools previously denied participation in the snack program may now be eligible. Please contact your representative if your school may now be eligible.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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