School Meals Resources

Children need healthy meals to learn. Your child(ren) may be eligible for free or reduced price meals at school. Even if your school is offering free breakfast and lunch to all students during the 2021-2022 school year, families are still encouraged to fill out a Free and Reduced Price Meal Application.  A new application must be filled out every year to qualify. 

Free and Reduced Price School Meals Eligibility

All children in households receiving the following benefits are eligible for free meals: 

  • Food Stamp Program/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)  
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 
  • Foster children: children who are the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court 
  • Children participating in a Head Start program
  • Homeless, runaway, or migrant children  
  • Your children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines on this chart:

How to Apply for School Meals

There are several ways you may be able to apply for free and reduced price school meals: 

  1. Some schools offer an online application. Click here to check for your child’s school district and submit your application through the online portal.  
  2. Go to your child’s school district’s website and check for an application, likely on the nutrition services page. 
  3. Contact your school district directly by phone or e-mail to receive an application. 

School Meals Questions & Answers

My child's application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out a new one?

Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless you have been notified by Nutrition Services that your child is eligible for the new school year.

I get WIC. Can my children get free school meals?

Maybe. Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please submit an application.

If I don't qualify now, may I apply later?

Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit. 

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. Citizen?

Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced-price meals. 

What if my child's school is an all free meal school, do I fill out an application?

Yes. Not all schools offer all free meals. If your child leaves one school, another school may not be under the same provision. Having an approved application on file may prevent households from accumulating unnecessary meal charges.  

How do I know if my children qualify as homeless, migrant, or runaway?

Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If your child fits these criteria and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact your district. 

Do I need to fill out an application for each child?

No. Use one Free and Reduced-Price School Meals Application for all students in your household each year. Districts cannot approve an incomplete application, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to your school district. 

Last Updated:  April 1, 2022