Discretionary Elimination of Reduced Price Charges in the School Meal Programs

Last Published: 10/20/2017

The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify for State and local operators of the school meal programs the permissible use of funds from the nonprofit school food service account to lower or eliminate reduced price student meal charges.

At the discretion of the School Food Authorities (SFA), participating schools and institutions that are not operating a special provision may offer meals at no cost to students who would otherwise qualify for reduced price benefits.  The expenditures associated with covering the reduced price student payments may be funded from the nonprofit food service account.  Schools electing to take advantage of this flexibility continue to receive Federal reimbursement based on meals claimed by students in the reduced price category.  Only paid students will be charged for meals. SFAs are permitted to implement this option selectively between the Programs (National School Lunch and School Breakfast) and serving sites they operate.


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