The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) guarantees children can eat a healthy meal while at school, giving them the focus they need to thrive.
The NSLP serves all children attending public schools in Texas as well as many charter and private schools. Although NSLP serves all Texas students, its benefits are greater for students from low-income families. Income-eligible students in Texas receive school lunches for free or at a reduced price, while higher-income students can also eat lunch through the school’s food program, but they pay full price for meals. Local school lunch programs determine meal prices and track the number and type of meals served.
By providing a healthy lunch each school day at low or no cost, NSLP lifts a major financial burden off millions of low-income families across the state, allowing their limited food budgets to go further.
The state’s role via the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is to approve payments and ensure that all meals meet nutritional guidelines. Although NSLP reaches a significant number of children across the state of Texas, it is important to ensure that the program serves the hardest to reach children by continuing to use direct certification, simplifying applications and communications with families, and encouraging schools to use Community Eligibility.