More Topics in Child Nutrition

Note: Reimbursement rates are for the Fiscal Year 2023 – 2024 (July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024).

NSLP reimbursement rates

Type Amount
Paid $0.40
Reduced $3.85
Free $4.25

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that served 60 percent or more free and reduced-price lunches in the second preceding year (FY 2019 – 2020) automatically receive an additional 2 cents per lunch in federal reimbursement.

An additional 8 cents per lunch reimbursement becomes available to school food authorities certified by the State agency to be in compliance with the updated meal pattern requirements.

Non-Severe Need Severe Need*
Paid $0.38 $0.38
Reduced $1.98 $2.43
Free $2.28 $2.73

*LEAs that served 40 percent or more of free and reduced-price lunches in the second preceding year (FY 2019 – 2020) automatically receive the Severe Need rates.

Type Amount
Paid $0.10
Reduced $0.58
Free $1.17

The reimbursement rate for NSLP snacks is determined either by:

  • Area eligibility, or
  • An individual child’s eligibility

An afterschool program is “area eligible” if it is located in a low-income area (at least 50 percent of the children in the local elementary, middle, or high school are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals). In this instance, all of the snacks are reimbursed at the free rate of reimbursement.

If an afterschool program is not located in a low-income area, it is reimbursed based upon each child’s eligibility for free, reduced-price, or paid school meals.

Sponsoring agencies receive a reimbursement rate of $0.2625 for each half pint of milk served to children in fiscal year 2023-2024.

For pricing programs that serve milk free to eligible children, sponsors are reimbursed the average cost per half pint of milk.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Benefits of the Community Eligibility Provision include:

  • All students receive all meals at no charge;
  • Paperwork for schools and families is dramatically reduced. Families no longer have to complete applications and schools no longer have to certify individual student eligibility, which also eliminates the verification process;
  • School meal service is streamlined; meal claiming is simplified; and

Universal (free) meals make it easier for schools to implement alternative meal services such as “grab and go” and breakfast in the classroom.