Featured here is USDA’s Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals, along with accompanying guidance materials and resources. The electronic prototype application is intended to be a model for how state and local program operators (or their designated vendors) may develop an effective and fully compliant electronic/online application for school meal benefits. While USDA offers both the design and code as open source publications free for all to access, these materials are not structured for direct or immediate use by households unless adapted and integrated with appropriate data management systems maintained at the state and/or local levels.
The USDA electronic prototype application is not for direct household use. If you are a parent looking to apply for school meal benefits, contact your child’s school to find out where you can access their application for school meal benefits.
- Web-Based Interactive demo: This demo is intended to allow users to explore and familiarize themselves with the web-based prototype’s design format, as well as to preview how applicants would complete a fully functional version of this application. Please note: This is not a working application that households may fill out to qualify for school meal benefits. Although it accepts household and income information for demo purposes, no data entered is recorded by or transmitted to USDA, state agencies, or other organizations.
- Open source code (.zip): A downloadable copy of the source code for USDA’s electronic application prototype. Must be adapted to and integrated with other electronic systems prior to functional household use. Note: Open source development on future versions of the web-based prototype application is paused while we continue to evaluate functionality and initial stakeholder feedback. Check back periodically for updates on the future direction of the project and how you might contribute.
- Q&A Guidance: Commonly asked questions and answers related to the Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals.
- Guide to USDA’s Web-Based Prototype Application: A comprehensive resource targeted toward program officials and vendors adapting or developing web-based applications for free and reduced price school meal benefits. Provides technical guidance on development considerations related to customization, localization, and formatting, as well as general information on application design best practices as reflected in the Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals v1.0.
The WebApp Support & Sharing Center features the latest need-to-know updates, coding fixes, design tips, and recommendations for incorporating additional functionality related to the Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals. In the future, we also hope to share best practices from states and school districts related to designing and implementing web-based applications for school meal benefits. Content will be added as we proceed with further usability research and gather feedback from our stakeholders. This page will be updated on a continuous basis, so check back periodically!
State and local program operators with questions about the Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals may send a message to WebApp@fns.usda.gov.
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