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Community eligibility is a federal option that enables high-needs schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. In order to qualify, schools must meet a certain threshold of poverty as measured by their identified student percentage.
The Food Research & Action Center obtained information on schools that have adopted community eligibility as of May 2018 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state education agencies. Under federal law, states are required to publish, by May 1 of each year, a list of schools and districts with ISPs of at least 40 percent and those with ISPs between 30 and just under 40 percent (near-eligible schools and districts). The database includes data for all 50 states, and the District of Columbia. Each entry, when available, contains the following information for a given school: state, school district, school name, identified student percentage (ISP), student enrollment, and current participation status.
Visit FRAC’s Community Eligibility webpage for more information about this provision.
School District (Local Educational Agency or LEA)
Identified Student Percentage (ISP)
Participation in CEP
Student Enrollment (Where Available)
The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) created this database using data made publicly available by state agencies in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) annual notification and publication requirements. You may access a state's original data submission by visiting FRAC's Community Eligibility Map for School Year 2018-2019.
Each year, on May 1, state agencies must prepare and release district-level and school-level data that indicate which schools and school districts are eligible or near-eligible for community eligibility. In partnership with USDA, FRAC reviewed published lists and identified missing or inconsistent data. State agencies addressed major data discrepancies; however, in certain cases, updates were not provided. In these situations, the state notes indicate how these issues were resolved for the purposes of displaying the state's information in this database.
The Identified Student Percentage (ISP) is one of the key factors for determining whether a school, group of schools, or school district qualifies for community eligibility. Identified students include children directly certified for free school meals through data matching because their households receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and, in some states, Medicaid. In addition, children who are certified for free meals without an application because they are homeless, migrant, enrolled in Head Start, or in foster care also qualify as identified students.
An ISP of 40 percent or greater indicates that a school can qualify for community eligibility, while an ISP of 30 percent, but less than 40 percent, indicates that a school is near-eligible for the provision. In certain cases, actual ISP information may not be available and according to USDA regulations, state agencies are permitted to use proxy data to develop their lists. If a school district decides to adopt community eligibility, it must submit actual ISP information at the time of application. Please see the state notes below for additional information.
The schools are color-coded by ISP according to the following legend:
|ISP 60% and higher|
The database includes 50 states, and the District of Columbia.
New York published two separate lists during the May 2018 CEP data collection: one that reports a list of all eligible and near-eligible schools, and another list that reports all schools participating in CEP. FRAC merged both data sets together to identify which schools in the list of eligible and near-eligible schools participated in CEP during the 2017—2018 school year. If a school belonged to the LEA "NYC Chancellor's Office" it was marked as participating because New York City is participating in CEP district-wide.
Alaska, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington provided proxy ISP data for all schools. Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin provided proxy data for some schools and actual ISP data for other schools.
Several states did not publish ISPs for some schools: California – 1,289 schools, Illinois – two schools, Louisiana – 88 schools, Mississippi – 64 schools, Nebraska – nine schools, New Mexico – one school, New York – four schools, and South Carolina – two schools.
Some states reported ISPs greater than 100 percent for some schools: Illinois – six schools, Indiana – sixteen schools, and Massachusetts – 20 schools. These schools' ISPs were capped at 100 percent.
Iowa and Michigan did not report student enrollment data. Two states are missing student enrollment information for some eligible or near-eligible schools: Alabama – eight schools, and Idaho – three schools.
Maryland's list is missing school names for six eligible schools.
The following states published lists that included schools that were neither eligible nor near-eligible for CEP: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These data were not required; however, as they were provided by the states, they were included in the database.