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School Meal Eligibility

School meal eligibility is determined at the district level by households completing a free or reduced-price application. Households can also be automatically eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through direct certification. Qualifying students as eligible for free or reduced-price school meals helps to increase access to healthy meals, which supports their health and academic performance. Find more specific information regarding school meal eligibility below.


Direct Certification

Direct certification is a process conducted by the state and by school districts to certify eligible children for free or reduced-price meals without the need for household applications.


Free and Reduced-Price School Meals Application

The free and reduced-price application determines school meal eligibility based on reported information including household size and income or participation in approved assistance programs.



Verification is the process of confirming free or reduced-price meal eligibility based on income and/or assistance program information provided on applications. Verification is based on the number of approved applications on file as of October 1st and should be completed by November 15th.


Supplemental Nutrition Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Eligibility (SNE) Component is used to report the student's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS). These data are used for categorical funding allocations, such as E-rate and Section 31a At-risk, as well as in a multitude of state and federal reports. It must be submitted for each student who is determined to meet eligibility requirements for free or reduced-price meals.