2013 Student eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price meals announced
The policy for free and reduced-price school meals for children who are unable to pay the full price of meals has been released by the Iowa Department of Education.
The meals are served through the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and the Afterschool Care Snack Program.
State and local officials have adopted family size and income criteria for determining eligibility (please see chart below).
Households may apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits one of four ways:
- Students from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for reduced-price meals or for free meals. All children in a household may be listed on one application, which then can be returned to any one of the children’s schools.
- Students from Food Assistance households and children who receive benefits under the Family Investment Program (FIP) are eligible for free meals. Most children from Food Assistance and FIP households will qualify for free meals automatically. These households will be notified of benefits in letters from their children’s schools. Households that receive a letter from the school district need to do nothing more to ensure their children receive free meals.
- Some Food Assistance and FIP households will receive letters from the Iowa Department of Human Services. Children listed in the letters will qualify for free meals, but parents must first take these letters to the children’s schools.
- Food Assistance or FIP households that receive benefits but do not receive a letter from DHS must apply for free school meals on behalf of their children.
Only complete applications will be approved by schools. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. If a family member becomes unemployed, the family should contact the school to complete an application.
Foster children are eligible for free meal benefits. Some foster children will qualify for free meals automatically through the State Direct Certification process, and their host families will be notified of these benefits. Families that are notified need to do nothing more to ensure their children receive free meals. Families with live-in foster children who are not notified but wish to apply for free meals will find instructions on the application form. Participants in the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on a completed application.
Households with children who are enrolled in the Head Start/Even Start Program or the Migrant Education Program or who are considered homeless or runaway by the school district’s homeless liaison should contact the school for assistance with benefits. Individuals who are dissatisfied with a ruling by school officials can formally appeal, either orally or in writing, to the school’s designated hearing official. The policy statement on file at the school contains an outline of the hearing procedure. School officials may verify the information in the application and that deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal criminal statutes. Households should contact their local schools for more information.
Income Eligibility Guidelines
|Household Size||Free Meals||Reduced-Priced Meals|
|For each family
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