All schools are required to have documentation that supports the free and reduced lunch eligibility for students. Schools are responsible for updating their student information system to include free and reduced lunch eligibility regularly throughout the year, and particularly before required state reporting deadlines. FRL eligibility status should be maintained in each school SIS and kept up to date throughout the year in order to create accurate report extracts for state collections.
Eligibility status can be determined in two primary ways:
Schools Participating in a Federal Child Nutrition Program
For schools participating in federal Child Nutrition (CN) Program(s), federal meal benefit applications determine if a student is eligible for free or reduced price school meals. Students who qualify will receive subsidized meals through the CN Program in the form of federal and state reimbursements to the school. In addition to subsidized meals for students, CSI schools may also receive additional funding based on the number of students in the school qualifying for free or reduced price meals (at-risk adjustment). Please see the “Flow Chart for Determining FRL Eligibility” link below for more details on the steps involved.
CSI schools under this category will participate with either the CSI School Food Authority (SFA) or another district SFA.
For Schools NOT Participating in a Federal Child Nutrition Program
These schools must use the Colorado Family Economic Data Survey (FEDS) forms made available through CDE’s Office of Nutrition to collect socioeconomic data on their students’ households for determining free and reduced lunch status. Though it is not mandatory that families complete the forms, schools need to strongly encourage participation in all cases because of possible funding availability to schools and districts for each eligible student regardless of the lunch program offered at a school. Please see the “Flow Chart for Determining FRL Eligibility” link below for more details on the steps involved.
FEDS forms are made available in July of each year and links are provided below. State rules require that forms not be signed until on or after July 1. Forms signed prior to that date are not valid.
School staff who handle the FEDS forms must sign a Disclosure Agreement annually (suggested template provided in link below).