All schools are required to have documentation that supports the free and reduced lunch eligibility for students. Eligibility status can be determined in two primary ways.
Schools are responsible for updating their student information system to include free and reduced lunch eligibility regularly throughout the year, and particularly before required state reporting deadlines. If FRL eligibility status is not being maintained in the SIS, schools or the SFA should communicate with CSI about providing the updated FRL status before required state reporting deadlines, particularly the October Count data collection.
Free and Reduced Lunch Applications
For schools participating in federal Child Nutrition (CN) Program(s), FRL applications determine if a student is eligible for free or reduced price school meals. Students who qualify will receive subsidized meals through the CN Program in the form of federal and state reimbursements to the school. In addition to subsidized meals for students, CSI schools may also receive additional funding based on the number of students in the school qualifying for free or reduced price meals (at-risk adjustment).
Procedures for Schools under a School Food Authority (SFA)
1. Schools will work with their SFA to determine the process.
2. Schools will need to request FRL data from their SFA in preparation for all applicable state data submissions.
3. Schools will import these data into their student information system OR will work to ensure that FRL eligibility data is provided to CSI.
Family Economic Data Surveys
Family Economic Data Survey (FEDS) Forms: An alternative form used by schools not participating in federal CN Program(s) made available through CDE's Office of Nutrition to collect socioeconomic data on their students’ households for reporting purposes. The forms are made available in July of each year. These forms cannot be mandatory.
Procedures for Schools without a federal Child Nutrition Program
1. Schools obtain FEDS forms and packet information from CDE's Office of Nutrition in July of every year.
2. School completes online training for processing FEDS forms.
3. School processes FEDS forms and track eligibility.
4. School imports FEDS form eligibility determination information into student information system for all applicable state data submissions. (CSI may request these forms as part of the October Count audit process.)
5. School continues to update FRL information throughout the year and maintain documentation for 4 years plus current year.
Schools not participating in the federal Child Nutrition Programs (National School Lunch or School Breakfast programs) are not able to use the Free and Reduced Price Meal Application per the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Instead, schools must follow the CDE Economic Data Survey form as the data collection instrument.
School staff that are handling the Economic Data Surveys must sign a Disclosure Agreement. Schools may use the Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs). For more information on the Economic Data Surveys, please access the materials on CDE's website.
NEW The 2016-2017 Family Economic Data Surveys and Instructions can be found on the CDE Office of Nutrition's Free and Reduced Price webpage. Family forms and instructions have been copied below.