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Community Eligibility Provision

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is an alternative to collecting, approving, and verifying household eligibility applications for free and reduced-price eligible students in high poverty local educational agencies (LEAs) for schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. For a LEA to be eligible to use CEP claiming, there must be one or a group of schools having an identified student percentage (ISP) of 25% or greater as determined by April 1. Claiming percentages are calculated based on the ISP times a USDA multiplier.

The identified student percentage is different from the total number of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Identified student counts ONLY include the following:

  • Directly certified FREE students and extension of direct certification benefits to other household members based on SNAP, TANF and Medicaid Free
  • Homeless students certified as such by the district liaison
  • Migrant youth certified by local officials
  • Runaway youth certified by local officials
  • Foster children, certified based on documentation from the foster child case worker
  • Head Start students (where applicable)

The LEA and school must agree to offer all students breakfasts and lunches at no cost (free) and cover any cost above the federal reimbursement received with non-Federal funds. CEP is approved for four successive school years, with an option annually to return to traditional meal counting and claiming procedures. Reimbursement for schools participating in CEP is based on claiming percentages (Free and Paid only) derived from the percentages of identified students multiplied by a USDA established factor. Applications and CEP worksheets are due to the State Agency no later than June 30.  Validation of the submitted application will take place prior to the beginning of the following school year.


For more information about the Community Eligibility Provision, contact Marcia Yurczyk.