Some schools may be able to provide school breakfast and lunch to all students under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP allows individual schools or entire districts to provide free meals to all students when 40 percent of enrolled students are directly certified—meaning students enrolled in SNAP, TANF, Food Distribution on Indian Reservations, or homeless, foster, or migrant students. Since CEP allows all students to receive meals without submitting applications, it reduces the administrative burden on schools and ensures that no children fall through the cracks. Additionally, it reduces the stigma around receiving free school meals, since all students are automatically eligible.
While meals are free for all students for school year 22-23, CEP schools have the added benefits of reduced administrative requirements, are able to be certain they will continue to offer free meals for all students for at least the duration of their four year cycle, and maximize federal reimbursements for meals served.