Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) TOOLKIT
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
CEP cuts red tape, eliminates stigma and is one of the most effective ways to make sure kids are getting breakfast and lunch in some of our nation’s highest-need school districts.
CEP + Title I
School districts have successfully instituted CEP without jeopardizing Title One funding. Districts should consult with their state Title I offices for support and technical assistance. It is also recommended that they reach out to neighboring districts that have adopted community eligibility to discuss how they determined Title I allocations.
Outreach + Communications
Since the Community Eligibility Program became available nationwide in the 2014–2015 school year, it has continued to expand as more schools learn about its many benefits. Still, there are many eligible schools that have not yet implemented the program and continued outreach and education to overcome policy challenges can help ensure more high-poverty schools can participate.
CEP + Breakfast After the Bell
The School Breakfast Program provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. School breakfast is a critical support for struggling families trying to stretch limited resources and provides children a significant portion of the daily nutrition they need to learn and be healthy.