Universal School Breakfast

Offering Free Breakfast to All Students

Schools can offer breakfast at no charge—universal school breakfast—to all students. Offering universal breakfast optimizes the impact of switching to an alternative breakfast model, eliminates the stigma that breakfast is just for “poor kids,” boosts participation, and removes the burden of collecting fees.

For more, visit FRAC Facts: Offering Free Breakfast to all Students

Methods for offering breakfast at no charge:

    Community Eligibility Provision

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a federal option that allows schools with a high percentage of students from low-income households to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. Any district, group of schools in a district, or individual school eligible for CEP with 40% or more “identified students”— children eligible for free school meals which are identified by other means than an individual household application—can choose to participate. Reimbursement for meals is based on a claiming percentage derived from a federal formula that uses the percentage of identified students.

    Provision 2

Provision 2 is a federal option that allows schools to serve breakfast, lunch, or both to all students at no charge. This option operates on a four-year cycle, with the first year determining reimbursement for the subsequent three years.


The application and meal tracking processes are consistent with the School Breakfast Program; however, no fees are collected from students. Typically, schools have absorbed the cost differential into district operational budgets. This is not a federal option and is not tracked by the New York State Education Department.