Student Meal Applications

Schools that participate in School Nutrition Programs accept Applications for Educational Benefits for free and reduced-price school meal benefits at any time. Approval is based on comparison of the household’s income to current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) household income guidelines. Schools send Applications for Educational Benefits to the households of all enrolled students at the beginning of each school year.

Households that have already been approved for the following public assistance programs are not required to but can complete an Application for Educational Benefits using case number(s) instead of household income information:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Children approved for these programs may be directly certified for free school meals, based on data supplied to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. For more information, click the Direct Certification link in the left navigation menu.

Free and Reduced-price Calculator (ICAVES Web)
This web-based tool assists School Food Authorities in determining whether free and reduced-price applications based on income meet eligibility criteria. Income guidelines are updated annually.

  • 2021-22 Household Income Guidelines - 6/11/21
    These household income guidelines are effective July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022.
  • Requirements for Annual Distribution of the Application for Educational Benefits Packet - 6/9/21
    Contents and timeline for the required annual application packet; use of packet for outreach about school breakfast and/or Minnesota health care programs; exempt schools; public schools that distribute an "alternative" application.
  • 2021-22 Application for Educational Benefits - 6/8/21  pdf iconPDF 
    Household letter, instructions and Application for Educational Benefits. This application is only for schools operating the National School Lunch Program in School Year 2021-22. A modified version for schools operating the Seamless Summer Option in School Year 2021-22 which removes language related to meal benefits is available on the Seamless Summer Option webpage.
  • Notice of Approval/Denial Letter for School Meal Benefits - 3/24/21
    Used to notify households of approval or denial for free or reduced-price school meals.
  • Expiring Application Notice - 3/24/21  pdf iconPDF 
    This template notification can be sent to households where prior year meal benefits have been carried over and will expire unless a new application is received by the School Food Authority.
  • Confidentiality Waiver - 3/24/21
    This form allows households to grant permission for a School Food Authority to share free, reduced-price eligibility with programs of their choosing.
  • Minnesota Health Care Programs Notification (flyer - English) - 3/4/21
    School districts can use this flyer to notify families about free or low-cost health insurance that is available through Minnesota Health Care Programs or MinnesotaCare.
  •  - 12/7/20
    This page describes the option to establish the effective date of eligibility for meal benefits back to the application receipt date.
  •  - 6/29/20
    Use the tools in this document to update your School Nutrition Program policy statement and check your online application system for compliance before you begin to accept applications electronically. Print the Content Checklist for Online Applications to get started.
  • Procedures for Approval/Denial of Application for Educational Benefits - 4/20/20
    For current school year (SY 20-21) use.
  •  - 2/3/20
  • Maintaining a Manual Benefit Issuance Document - 10/21/19
    Instructions for maintaining a manual benefit issuance document (eligibility roster) for schools who do not use a computerized benefit issuance system. Create your own eligibility roster using the Template Eligibility Rosters
  •  - 10/21/19  pdf iconPDF 
    Recommendations for organizing Applications for Educational Benefits.
  •  - 9/26/19
    Detailed instructions and requirements for uncommon circumstances that may allow a school official to complete an Application for Educational Benefits on behalf of a household.
  • Resident Income Policy - 8/27/18
    Form for documenting School Nutrition Programs meal benefits for children at a residential child care institution (RCCI).
  •  - 8/6/18
    Guidelines to identify eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case numbers used to apply for School Nutrition Programs meal benefits.
  •  - 8/2/18
  • Disclosure Agreement - 6/1/17
    This form must be completed for staff outside of the School Food Authority that have access to confidential free, reduced-price student eligibility information.

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