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. For questions or support, please email the Data Submissions Team.
Eligibility status can be determined in two primary ways:
1. For 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.
2. 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).
General FRL Resources
- CDE Online Signature Guidance – Pertaining to Residency Affadavits and FEDS
- Public Charge Resources
- Free and Reduced Price Lunch Module [slides] [recording] [exercise]
- Flow Chart for Determining FRL Eligibility [pdf]
- FRL Disclosure Agreements
- CDE At-Risk Audit Resources – includes CDE’s At-Risk Audit Guide
FEDS (Family Economic Data Survey) Resources
Schools not participating in the federal child nutrition program are encouraged to have families complete FEDS forms to determine a student’s FRL eligibility and to access related benefits available to the family and school.
State rules require that forms be signed on or after July 1 for the upcoming school year. Forms signed prior to July 1 are not valid. To be valid for the October Count collection, forms must be signed between July 1 and the count day for the current year.
- FEDS Application [English] [Spanish]
- FEDS School Processing Instructions
- FEDS Family Instructions [English] [Spanish]
- Completing FEDS – Letter to Household Template [docx]
Entering FRL Data in Student Information Systems
Schools are responsible for regularly updating FRL data in their SIS. Below are SIS resources related to FRL data.
- Schools should access the various FRAM eligiblity related help documents and training videos within Campus Community. Login required and it is highly recommended that schools sync the Campus Community tool with their IC instance.
- For eligibility entry fields go to the PowerSchool SIS Colorado webpage and search for FRL related data entry information under State Reporting Setup/Student Setup and then look under the Defining Lunch Status section.
- Meal specific information is available on the PowerSchool SIS – Administrator webpage under Student Menu/Student Profile/Administration and then look under the Lunch section.