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Free or Low-Cost Internet Services Available to All Households with Kids at Schools Participating in the Community Eligibility Provision

FNS Document #
SP 08-2023
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (202.85 KB)
Word Icon Enclosure (49.18 KB)
Please Note

This resource does not reflect the changes made by the Final Rule published on Sept. 26, 2023, which lowered the minimum identified student percentage required to elect CEP from 40% to 25%.

DATE: March 14, 2023
SUBJECT: Free or Low-Cost Internet Services Available to All Households with Kids at Schools Participating in the Community Eligibility Provision
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

In the 21st century, high-speed internet is a necessity – especially for students. That’s why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to lower internet costs. The ACP provides eligible households a discount of up to $30 per month off their internet bills (or up to $75 per month for households living on tribal lands), as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 off an eligible connected device like a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. In many cases, households can get high-speed internet without paying a dime by choosing a fully covered internet plan.

On Aug. 8, 2022, the Food and Nutrition Service published a PartnerWeb announcement to promote participation in the ACP. This letter is a reminder that a household is eligible to participate in the ACP if a child in the household receives free or reduced-price school meals. Therefore, every household with a child attending a school participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program is eligible for ACP benefits.

Households can learn more and apply for the ACP at

To apply, households will need documentation, such as an official, individualized letter from the CEP school stating that the student is enrolled at a CEP-participating school. The documentation must also include the student’s name, the relevant school year, the name and address of the school, and school contact information. We also recommend that schools include a unique number in the letter to enable the ACP administrator to confirm its authenticity if needed.

We need your help spreading the word to CEP schools, because tens of millions of households are eligible but have not yet claimed their benefit. We encourage you to share with CEP schools the enclosed materials letting school leaders and households know about the ACP and how to apply.

The enclosed materials (available in English and Spanish) are specific to schools that are participating in CEP. Under the ACP rules, every household with a student enrolled in a CEP school automatically qualifies for discounts.

For non-CEP schools, we encourage you to share this School Outreach Toolkit (available in English in PDF/Word and Spanish in PDF/Word) to raise awareness about other ways households can qualify for the ACP—including through an individual student’s participation in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program providing free or reduced price meals; through a household member’s participation in a wide range of other federal assistance programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and many others; or based on the household’s income (up to 200% of the federal poverty level).

FNS appreciates the exceptional efforts of state agencies and local program operators working to meet the needs of students. Please contact your regional office with any questions.


Cindy Long
Food and Nutrition Service


Page updated: September 26, 2023