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Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

One important goal of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) is to ensure that children have access to the nutrition they need to grow into healthy adults. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), as authorized by amendments made in HHFKA to Section 11(a)(1)(F), of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), 42 USC 1759a(a)(1)(F), is a powerful tool to ensure that children in low income communities have access to healthy school meals. CEP allows participating schools to offer healthy, free lunches and breakfasts to all students without requiring their families to complete individual applications. Now in its third year of nationwide implementation, CEP has continued to steadily expand as additional schools and districts learn of CEP’s many potential benefits. As of September 2015, more than 17,000 schools in about 3,000 school districts were offering nutritious meals to approximately 8.1 million students through CEP.

Community Eligibility Provision:  Planning and Implementation Guidance

CEP Approvals

CEP Annual Notification and Publication Requirements, School and District Level Proxy Data (SP 11-2018)

School Food Authorities (SFAs) interested in participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for one or more schools must submit the following documents to the Office of Child Nutrition via fax at 601-354-7595 or email (preferred) to Interested LEAs should submit CEP applications to the state agency as soon as possible. The goal is to have all applications submitted and approved before classes resume for the upcoming school year. Please allow the State Agency at least 30 days to complete the review of your application, Contact the School Support Help Desk (at 601-576-5000) for questions concerning this provision or the required documentation.

CEP Training Slides and Fact Sheet:

LEAs that have elected to participate in CEP for at least one site must notify households of children attending the CEP school(s) of CEP participation in the 2015-2016 School Year. LEAs may use this sample household letter to serve as the required notification.

The USDA CEP Resource Center provides extensive resources for parents, teachers, and school officials at the local, State, and Federal level to better understand CEP and its positive benefits, along with useful tools to help facilitate successful implementation of the provision in your school!

For CEP questions concerning:

  • Child Nutrition Program, contact the MDE-OCN Help Desk at 601-576-4955
  • Title I, contact the MDE Office of Federal Programs at 601-359-3499
  • E-Rate, contact the MDE Office of Technology and Strategic Services at 601-359-3487