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CEP Application Information

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a four-year alternative meal counting and collection procedure. Participation in the CEP reduces paperwork and other administrative burdens at the local level by simplifying the traditional operating procedures for meal eligibility and meal counting while eliminating the meal application process. For more information on the CEP, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) CEP web page.

California Education Code Section 49564.3 requires local educational agencies (LEA) with high poverty schools to adopt a federal universal meal service provision, such as the CEP or Provision 2. A school is considered high poverty if their identified student percentage (ISP) is over 40 percent, meaning 40 percent of enrolled students are determined eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through direct certification, or identification as homeless, migrant, foster, or runaway. Operating under the CEP maximizes federal reimbursements that support the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program operations at school sites, which supports the intent of the California Universal Meals Program.

LEAs may apply for the CEP by individual site(s), by school groups, or by district. To apply for the CEP, the site, group of sites, or district must have an ISP of 40 percent or greater. The ISP is determined based on the number of directly certified students in the site, group of sites, or district. For more information on the application process and to calculate your LEA’s ISP, please refer to Management Bulletin SNP-02-2022, which is posted on the CDE CEP Application and Increasing ISP web page.

To apply for the CEP, please note the following dates:

April 3, 2023 — extract direct certification and enrollment lists

(California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System [CALPADS] direct certification data extract for July 1 through March 31 is typically available to LEAs April 7 through 10. Students identified as directly certified on this data extract may be included in the ISP if they were enrolled as of April 1. Please note that enrollment data should be extracted from the LEA’s student information system.)

June 30, 2023 — the deadline to apply for the CEP for school year 2023–24

The following forms are required when applying for the CEP:

  • Form SNP-71, CEP – Application Checklist
  • Form SNP-19, CEP – Implementation Request
  • Form SNP-55, CEP – Identified Students Preapproval Review
  • All source documents used to calculate the ISP

All forms are located in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System External link opens in new window or tab.. Instructions on how to submit each form and the source documents are included on the SNP-71. Please reach out to your School Nutrition Program (SNP) analyst if you are interested in applying and they will send you the information to get started.


CEP Training Video – Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) - YouTube External link opens in new window or tab. (Video, 13:11)

U.S. Department of Agriculture CEP Web Page – Community Eligibility Provision | Food and Nutrition Service External link opens in new window or tab.

Universal Meals Listening Session – Webinar: Universal Meals Listening Session #3 - Nutrition

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your county’s SNP Specialist. A current list of SNP Specialists is available on the SNP Specialist Directory web page. You can also contact Jeremy Partsch, SNP Unit Office Technician, by email at to be directed to your SNP Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Related Content
  • California Universal Meals
    Includes background, policy, provisions, webinars, resources, FAQs, and contacts regarding California’s Universal Meals Program.
  • Community Eligibility Provision
    The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides School Nutrition Program (SNP) sponsors an alternative method for claiming student meals in high poverty schools.
  • Direct Certification
    A federally mandated process that sponsors must use to certify school-age recipients of CalFresh and CalWORKs benefits as eligible for free school meals without further application.
  • National School Lunch Program
    Information about applying for and administering the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
  • School Breakfast Program
    Information about applying for and administering the School Breakfast Program (SBP).
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