Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-34-4) 2 pp

July 2003

Food Assistance Research Brief-Certifying Eligibility in the National School Lunch Program

Nutritionally balanced National School Lunch Program (NSLP) meals are available in almost all public and many private schools. Any child at a participating school may purchase a lunch through the NSLP; over half of the 25 million NSLP lunches served on an average school day in 2001 were given to children free or at a reduced price. Current regulations allow children to be certified for free or reduced-priced lunches in two ways-direct certification based on documentation from State or local welfare offices, or certification based on an application from a child's parent or guardian. This report examines whether students who are not eligible for free or reduced-cost meals are receiving meals.

Keywords: National School Lunch Program, Food Stamp Program, hunger, food insecurity, food assistance programs, nutrition, dietary and health effects, food security, program eligibility, poor families

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