School Meal Applications

ApplicationThe information gathered through school meal applications (SMAs) determines students’ eligibility for free, reduced-price, or paid school meals. They also gather demographic information about school and neighborhood populations in order to determine Title I and SFSP eligibility.

Despite these benefits, many families never return their application to the school. When encouraging families to complete the application, keep these things in mind: 

  • Households can fill out a school meal application at any time during the year.
  • Households that have experienced a change in income due to layoffs or decreased work hours can reapply for meal benefits even if they were denied benefits prior to the income change. 
  • USDA Food and Nutrition Service offers the SMA in 34 different languages for families that do not speak English and who may have trouble filling out the standard application.

Principal The Child Nutrition Outreach Program has several strategies to help maximize the number of applications completed and returned.