Did you know that the percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) students qualifies your school and district for federal Title 1 funds, as well as, the Washington State Learning Assistance Program (LAP) and Washington High Poverty LAP benefits? Applications for this 2021-2022 school year will affect next year’s allocations. So, it’s critical for families to still apply this year.
Since families are getting free meals this year, they don’t know that their FRL delivers so much more than just meals. As a result, the number of applications are way down which means families may lose some benefits now and will lose funds for next year. So please encourage families to submit their FRL applications to continue all the extra funding for students.
Here 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.
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, putting your school’s Title 1 and state benefits at risk. Don’t let your schools lose valuable funds and supports for this year and next year. Encourage families to submit their applications ASAP.
Guest post provided by WSPTA Advocacy Committee member, Heidi Bennett
original post November 8, 2021; updated February 14, 2022