This report from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) provides a status report on Community Eligibility implementation nationally and across the states and the District of Columbia in the 2016–2017 school year, based on school and school district participation and enrollment in Community Eligibility schools. FRAC analyzed data provided by each state, via the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide a status report on Community Eligibility implementation in New York State in the 2016–2017 school year.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • In the national report, New York State experienced the largest growth in the number of school districts participating in the 2016-2017 school year — an increase of 57 school districts.
  • In New York State, 1,561 schools — 55.4 percent of those eligible — are now participating in the Community Eligibility Provision.
  • New York State was ranked third among the top states in adding the largest number of schools, with 210 coming into Community Eligibility since the 2015-2016 school year.
  • In the 2016–2017 school year, 603,795 students have access to free breakfast and lunch at school through the Community Eligibility Provision.

While New York State has experienced strong growth in Community Eligibility, there are still significant opportunities for growth in the coming school years. This report underscores the need for states and school districts to work through any remaining barriers, improve direct certification systems, provide ways for school districts to keep sharing their experiences with their peers, and help school districts expand to new schools as they become more comfortable with the provision.

Community Eligibility Continues to Grow in the 2016–2017 School Year