New Jersey schools are reporting a low return of applications for free or low-cost school meals. This is concerning. Find out why.
With many New Jersey schools serving free meals to all children, fewer parents are completing school meal applications.
This is a problem because these applications drive other assistance and funding decisions.
These applications are used for several purposes, including to:
- Determine whether a student is eligible to receive free or low-cost school meals,
- Identify students that qualify for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). This monthly benefit of about $99 is available to students in kindergarten through 12th grade whose school is operating on a remote schedule. Children must be enrolled in the School Lunch Program to be eligible.
- Determine state and federal funding that supports many of your child’s education programs
Congress recently extended Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) through Sept. 30, 2021 to children in kindergarten through 12th grade who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals and whose schools are operating on remote learning at least five days a week. Students must be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program to be eligible.
School districts that engage in effective and ongoing outreach have the potential to reach more students.