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National School Lunch Program

School Lunch
Number: 10.555
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Food and Nutrition Service

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
10.555 National School Lunch Program
Federal Agency (030):
Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture
Authorization (040):
Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1751 1760, 1779.
Objectives (050):
To assist States, through cash grants and food donations, in providing a nutritious nonprofit lunch service for school children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities.
Types of Assistance (060):
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
Federally appropriated National School Lunch Program funds are available to each State agency to reimburse participating public and nonprofit private schools, of high school grades or under, including residential child care institutions, for lunches meeting the nutritional requirements prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture, served to eligible children. Schools meeting eligibility criteria may be reimbursed for snacks served to children enrolled in eligible after school hour care programs. Participating schools are reimbursed at rates that are adjusted on an annual basis to reflect changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. All participating schools must agree to serve free and reduced price meals to eligible children. Please refer to regulations: 7 CFR Part 210 -- National School Lunch Program; 7 CFR Part 215 -- Special Milk Program; 7 CFR Part 220 -- School Breakfast Program; 7 CFR Part 235 -- State Administrative Expense; 7 CFR Part 245 -- Free and Reduced Price Eligibility.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
State and U.S. Territory agencies (except territories subject to the Compact of Free Association), public and nonprofit private schools of high school grade and under; public and nonprofit private residential child care institutions, except Job Corps centers, residential summer camps that participate in the Summer Food Service Program, and private foster homes. Schools and residential child care institutions that participate must agree to operate a nonprofit food service that is available to all children regardless of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability.
Beneficiary Eligibility (082):
All children enrolled in schools where this program is operating may participate. Lunch is served free to children who are determined by local educational agencies to have household income levels at or below 130 percent of poverty, and at a reduced price to children from households with incomes higher than 130 but at or below 185 percent of the poverty line respectively. Such determinations are made in accordance with income eligibility guidelines prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture and cross reference household income with household size. The Secretary announces these income eligibility guidelines by July 1. The statistical source used in making such revisions is the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines.
Children from households certified to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and children in Head Start Programs are automatically eligible for free meals. Homeless children, children in certain runaway and homeless youth grant programs, migrant children, and foster children are also automatically eligible for free meals.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
Applicant organizations must furnish evidence of nonprofit status. Costs will be determined in accordance with USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations (7 CFR Part 3015 or 3016 and 3019). OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
The application forms as furnished by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) or the State agency, as applicable, must be used for this program. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedures (092):
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Public schools in all States make application to the State educational agency unless the State applies and is approved for a waiver to designate an alternate agency. Appropriate forms may be obtained from this agency. Nonprofit private schools should also apply to the State educational agency in most States. In some States, however, the State educational agency is prohibited by statute from disbursing Federal funds to nonprofit private schools. In such instances, the application should be submitted to the alternate State agency or the appropriate FNS Regional Office.
Award Procedure (093):
The State agency reviews the written application of a school or a residential child care institution and, upon determination of eligibility, makes a written agreement with the school or institution for participation in the program.
Deadlines (094):
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
Effective upon approval by the State agency.
Appeals (096):
The State agency is responsible for determining a school's eligibility.
Renewals (097):
Permanent, amended as necessary.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
Statutory Formula: The funding formula for the general cash for food assistance phase of this program is set forth in section 4 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. 1753; the formula for special cash assistance is described in section 11 of the Act, 42 U.S.C.1759a. This program is funded on a performance basis. For every lunch served during the applicable fiscal year, the State receives a payment from funds made available under section 4. In addition, the State receives a payment from section 11 funds for each lunch served to a child eligible for free or reduced price lunches. The amounts of such per lunch payments are determined by "National Average Payment" (NAP) factors. The amount due the State under this program is obtained by: (1) multiplying the total number of eligible paid lunches and free and reduced price lunches served during the fiscal year by the section 4 NAP factor for lunches; (2) multiplying the number of free lunches served by the section 11 NAP factor for free lunches; (3) multiplying the number of lunches served at reduced price by the Section 11 NAP factor for reduced price lunches; (4) multiplying the total number of lunches served during the fiscal year in school food authorities which served 60 percent or more free or reduced price lunches in the second preceding school year by $ .02; and (5) adding together the four products obtained thereby. The NAP factors are prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture in accordance with sections 4 and 11, respectively, of the Act; the numbers of lunches are obtained from programmatic reports submitted to FNS. In addition to the NAP factors, lunches certified as meeting updated meal patterns and nutrition standards receive an additional 6 cents in reimbursement. The funding formula for snacks in after school care programs is described in section 17A of the Act, 42, U.S.C. 1766a. Section 11(a)(3) of the Act requires that the NAP factors be adjusted annually, according to changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers; the source is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each State must appropriate from State revenues and use, for program purposes, an amount equal to 30 percent of the section 4 funds made available to the State in the 1980-81 school year. Also, commodity schools are eligible to receive donated commodities equal in value to the sum of section 6 and section 4 assistance rates, except that up to 5 cents of this amount may be received in cash for processing and handling commodities. In addition, commodity schools are eligible for section 11 free and reduced price meal reimbursements.
This program has no matching requirements.
This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
For the period covered by the agreement on a fiscal year basis. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
State agencies and schools file monthly reports on the number of meals served, by type, to claim program funds. School food authorities must submit final meal claims to the State no later than 60 days after the claiming month, and States must submit final program reports to FNS no later than 90 days after the claiming month. States must submit final fiscal year grant close out reports to FNS within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain. Annually, school food authorities must report, to their State agency, the most common charge for lunches served to children who do not qualify for free or reduced price lunches. School food authorities report the price charged at the elementary, middle and high levels, as applicable. In turn the State agency submits this information to FNS for publication. No cash reports are required. No progress reports are required. States must submit final fiscal year grant close out reports to FNS within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain. No performance monitoring is required.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in OMB Circular No. A-133.
Records (113):
Schools must maintain full and accurate records of their lunch programs. Such records shall be retained for a period of 3 years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain, except that if audit findings have not been resolved, the records shall be retained beyond the 3-year period as long as required for the resolution of audit findings. School food authorities must maintain records for State agency review relating to the average price they charge for full-price school lunches relation to the requirement for paid lunch pricing equity. In addition, school authorities must maintain records showing revenue generated by nonprogram foods (for example, a la carte items sold to students or meals sold to teachers and staff) in relation to the food costs for program and nonprogram foods.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Formula Grants) FY 13 $11,052,821,000; FY 14 est $11,481,904,000; and FY 15 est $11,675,000,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
State grants vary according to participation in this program.
Program Accomplishments (130):
Fiscal Year 2013: 5.10 billion meals were served at 100,000 schools and residential child care institutions. Average daily participation was 30.67 million, and 19.94 million were free or reduced price. Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
Program regulations are codified at 7 CFR Parts 210 and 245.
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
See Regional Agency Offices. See the Food and Nutrition Service Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.
Headquarters Office (152):
Cynthia Long, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive Room 628, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. Phone: 703-305-2590.
Website Address (153):
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Not Applicable.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
Not Applicable.