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Educational Benefit Applications

Educational Benefit Application Information

Educational Meal Benefits are available to families who qualify. If you would like to apply please complete an Educational Benefit application.  Applications can be completed via Stratapps our online application system, or you can download and print an Educational Benefit Application Form Here. The forms can also be picked up and returned (completed) to any school office. You will be notified by mail of your child's status. 

A new application must be submitted each year. You are encouraged to complete and return your new application as soon as possible.

Please complete only one application per family. The information you give will be used to determine your child's eligibility for Educational Benefits. This information may also be used for other state or federally-funded school benefits.

Factors considered in the application process are the household size and total household income.

  • HOUSEHOLD SIZE is considered all persons, related or unrelated: Including parents, children, grandparents who live in your home and share living expenses.
  • The TOTAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME is the income each household member received last month before taxes - this includes wages, social security, pension, unemployment, welfare, child support, alimony, and any other cash income.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits. An application is not needed yet there does need to be documentation of status by a state or local entity familiar with the child's status. Foster children may be included in the household application as part of the household size.

Important Links


Educational Benefit Application- Online

Educational Benefit Application

Educational Benefit Guidelines

Educational Benefit Information Letter

Educational Benefit Application-Hmong

Educational Benefit Application-Somali

Educational Benefit Application-Spanish

Minnesota Health Care Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What measures can I take to expedite my application's approval?

  • Use Black or Blue Ink to complete the application form
  • Print Clearly
  • Use your student's name as it appears on their birth certificate
  • List all other Household Members
  • Fill in the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number for the signer or check the box for No Social Security Number
  • Signature is Required
  • Foster Child may be completed on a separate form, however, the regulations now state that foster children may be included in the household application as part of the household size.

Do I need to fill out an application for each child?

  • No. Complete one application for all students in your household.  We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information.  Return the completed application to the Food Services Office, the School Office, or the School Cafeteria Manager.

Who can receive free Educational Benefits?

There are several ways that your children may be eligible for free Educational Benefits. 

  • Your child can receive free meals if your household income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines.
  • Students can receive free Educational Benefits through "categorical eligibility".  If one member of your household is currently receiving assistance (benefits) from one of the following programs:  Food Stamps, FDPIR, CalWORKS, or Kin-GAP, all children in the household are eligible for free meals.  (Remember, a household is defined as "...a group of related or non-related individuals, who are not residents of an institution or boarding house, but who are living as one economic unit."
  • Foster children are categorically eligible for free Educational Benefits.  An application is not needed yet there does need to be documentation of status by a state or local entity familiar with the child's status.  However, a change in the regulation states that foster children may be included in the household application as part of the household size.

Have the eligibility guidelines changed from last school year?

Yes, the eligibility guidelines have changed from last year and you do need to complete a new application if you feel you still qualify for educational benefits.

Can homeless, runaway, and migrant children get free educational benefits?

Yes.  Other categorically eligible children are those who meet the definition of "migrant, homeless, or runaway", or who are enrolled in a federally-funded Head Start Center.  If you are homeless, runaway, or a migrant child, please contact the Food & Nutrition office for assistance in completing the application.  If you have a homeless, migrant, or runaway child, contact our office if you need assistance in completing the application.  (We usually receive documentation for these children from official sources, but if you know of any, please contact your Food Services Office.)

I received a letter stating my children are approved for free educational benefits for this school year.  Should I fill out an application?

All applications MUST be renewed every new school year.  Please carefully read the letter you received and follow the instructions.  Call the Food & Nutrition Office if you have questions.  If you received a letter the current school year, then no, you do not have to fill out a new application.  (Just make sure that all of your children are listed on the letter as being eligible to receive free educational benefits.)

Who can receive Reduced Price Educational Benefits?

Your child can receive reduced-cost benefits if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Eligibility Guidelines.  Please complete an application.

I receive WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) benefits.  Can my child get free meals?

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for reduced price or free educational benefits.  Please complete an application.

Will the information I give be checked?

Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the information you provide.

If I don't qualify now, may I apply later?

You may apply at any time during the school year.

What if I disagree with the school's decision about my application?

You should talk to a school official.  You may also ask for a hearing by calling or writing to the Food  & Nutrition Department or School District Business Department.

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. Citizen?

You or your child do not have to be a U.S. Citizen to qualify your child to receive reduced price or free meals.

Who should I include as members of my household?

Include yourself, all children who live with you, and all other people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends).

What if my income is not always the same?

Please contact the Food & Nutrition Department for further instructions.  Normally you will list the amount that you normally receive Before deductions.  For example, if you normally receive $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you get $1,000 per month.  If you are normally paid overtime, include it.

Are applications available in other languages?

Applications are available in English and Spanish.  Applications may also be available in other languages.

Why is it necessary to use the same name as it appears on the Birth Certificate?

Since the school district uses the birth date and name information from the Birth Certificate for all school records, the only way the application can be validated is by using the same process.

Why do you list all the other household members?

The consideration for approval of an application is based on income and the number of household members.  Therefore, it is required to list all members of the household.

Why do I need to fill out the Social Security Number and sign the application?

These two sections are required fields and it is very important that these sections be completed.  If this information is not complete, the application will be returned to the applicant.  However, a change in requirements now only requires that the last 4 digits of the social security number for the adult signing the application be completed, rather than the entire social security number.

If I have more than one student going to school in the school district, do I need to fill out more than one application?

No, only complete one application per family/household.

If I have a student living at home that goes to a private school, charter school, or pre-k school, should I include them on the application?

Yes, include them as Other Household Members at the bottom of the form.

What is Direct Certification?

Under direct certification, school districts use information from the State Social Service Department to certify children to receive free Educational Benefits.  To qualify, the children's families must receive assistance from SNAP, CalWORKS, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or Kin-GAP Programs.

How do you know if your student is Direct Certified?

Direct Certification Letters are sent to the homes of pre-approved students.

If one student is Direct Certified, in a household, are the remaining students also Direct Certified?


Return Applications to:

Please return the completed application to your child's school office or cafeteria manager.

One application per household, please.

Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, autiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf , from and USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant's name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
(1)mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or (2) fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.