November 8, 2021

Free and Reduced Lunch Status Provides Much More than Just Meals – Encourage Families to Apply

Did you know that the number of students on Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) qualifies your school and district for state and federal funds? FRL families also get many other discounts to help their students achieve at school and lower financial barriers.

But this school year, FRL enrollments are down as many districts are providing free meals to everyone.  So please encourage families to apply today!

Source: OSPI, "It's More Than a Meal Application Toolkit" ( are just a few of the benefits students, schools, and districts can receive based on the percentage of FRL students1:

  • Resources for Classroom Teachers and Students
  • Healthy and Nutritious Meals
  • Before and After School Academic and Enrichment Programs
  • Guidance and College Counselors
  • Free or Reduced Cost Meals for Your Student at Your School
  • Health and Wellness Services
  • Free Waivers for College Applications and Admission Tests

Check your district website for other benefits, which might include free or reduced costs for:

  • Sports Teams
  • Classroom or School Events
  • Field Trips
  • Dual-Credit Class Fees
  • Running-Start Books and more.

The percentage of FRL families helps determine which schools and districts receive extra state and federal funds, such as the Washington State Learning Assistance Program (LAP) and Washington High Poverty LAP and Federal Title I benefits.

This handy resource, “It’s More than a Meal Application Toolkit” from OSPI, has flyers, posters, and media formats (email, posters/flyers, social media, etc.) in 12 languages to help more families learn about these benefits. Please include the link to your district application when you send out the  information.

The FRL application is quick and easy to apply, and confidential.  There are no citizenship requirements for participation in federal Child Nutrition Programs, and immigration status is not requested or disclosed.2

Families can apply on their district website or ask for a paper version from their school’s office. Families who have a decrease in income during the school year  should also apply.

Help spread the word by inviting families to fill out this application. This year with so many districts waiving meal costs, applications are down, resulting in fewer state and federal dollars to help those students, schools, and districts who need it the most.

Guest post provided by WSPTA Advocacy Committee member, Heidi Bennett


  1. Social Media graphic:
Category: Advocacy

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