Community Eligibility Provision

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) promotes equity and access to nutritious meals during the school day. CEP is a meal service option that allows schools and school districts in low-income areas to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to enrolled students, without collecting household income applications.

Benefits to Students
  • Access to free nutritious meals for all students, regardless of income, and without stigma 
  • Less time spent in cashier lines  
  • More time to eat 

Benefits to Families
  • No out-of-pocket costs for meals 
  • No unpaid meal debt 
  • No household application is needed

Benefits to Schools
  • Streamlined meal service operation
  • More time for students to eat

Benefits to School Districts
  • Reduced paperwork and administrative costs 
  • No need to track unpaid meal charges 
  • Improved program integrity

Schools and school districts with an Identified Student Percentage (ISP) of 40% or higher are eligible to elect CEP. Identified students are those students who are directly certified for free meals based on their participation in other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). 

Learn more