Section 104(a) of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296) amended section 11(a) (1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1759a(a)(1)(the law) to provide an alternative to household applications for free and reduced- price meals in high poverty local education agencies (LEAs) and schools. This alternative is referred to as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). In accordance with the law, CEP was phased in over a period of several years. CEP became available nationwide to all eligible LEAs and schools beginning July 1, 2014. The objective of the study is to examine operational issues and perceived incentives and barriers for adopting CEP as well as the impacts on National School Lunch Programs and School Breakfast Program participation and per meal revenues.
This study is necessary to implement section 28(a)(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. This legislation directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry out annual national performance assessments of the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Programs. With the expansion of CEP nationwide, the CEP Characteristics Study will include surveys of nationally representative samples of participating and eligible non-participating LEAs to obtain updated information on the characteristics of participating and non-participating districts and schools. It will also examine CEP impacts on student participation and per meal revenue.