Community Eligibility Provision

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools with high percentages of low-income children to offer breakfast and lunch for free to all students.

CEP is a federal reimbursement option for high-poverty schools to effectively address hunger. It’s a powerful tool that improves student access to healthy school meals and simplifies administrative processes so that schools can operate more efficient and higher-quality school meal programs.


  • Is available to any school, group of schools or district that has 40% or more students certified for free school meals by means other than a school meal application
  • Reduces labor costs and improves efficiency by eliminating free and reduced-price meal applications
  • Increases student participation by removing stigma and eliminating unpaid school meal fees
  • Makes it easier to offer Breakfast After the Bell—schools no longer need to collect fees or count meals served by fee category

Download our CEP fact sheet   |   Download our CEP infographic

Eliminating School Meal Applications

While CEP eliminates the need to collect school meal applications, New York State still requires schools to collect alternative forms.


It’s time to apply for CEP for the 2019-2020 school year!

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is now accepting applications from School Food Authorities (SFAs) and schools that want to participate in CEP for the 2019-2020 school year.

Applications for the 2019-2020 school year must be submitted by June 30, 2019 and must be based on April 1, 2019 enrollment and 2018-2019 DC data.

We can help.

We work with schools, government leaders, and organizations statewide to help expand the implementation of CEP. We:

  • Work with schools one-on-one to understand and maximize the impact of CEP.
  • Connect schools with community partners and programs
  • Analyze participation in CEP, research and disseminate provision policy updates, track participation trends, and gather best practices.

Email [email protected] for more information.

Why Community Eligibility Matters

CEP is a powerful tool that fights hunger in schools.

Maximizing CEP

Once free breakfast is available to all students, CEP schools can make it more accessible by incorporating it into the school day.

Additional Resources

Resources on best practices for implementation, frequently asked questions, and comprehensive guidance for eliminating school applications