Boosting School Meal Enrollment

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.

Learn more about boosting school meal enrollment.

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