Equipment Assistance Grant Scoring Criteria
Summary of the 100 Point Scoring Criteria
Using the Equipment Assistance Grant Application Scoring Worksheet, Nutrition Services Division staff will score applications from school food authorities (SFA) based on the following areas:
(A) Points for student free or reduced-price (F/RP) percentage (up to 30 points)
30 points for sites that have 50–100 percent F/RP student eligibility.
15 points for sites that have 26–49 percent F/RP student eligibility.
- 5 points for sites that have 0–25 percent F/RP student eligibility.
(B) Points for student impact (up to 15 points)
- 15 points for SFAs that identify the equipment will benefit at least 500 students or sites where at least 50 percent of the students are eligible for F/RP meals.
- 12 points for SFAs that identify the equipment will benefit at least 250 students.
- 10 points for SFAs that identify the equipment will benefit less than 250 students.
(C) Points for the description of the site need for equipment grant (up to 15 points)
Up to 15 points for SFAs that provide a strong justification for needing grant funds at the site. A strong justification will have specific data and information that supports the site’s need (e.g., equipment has not been replaced in over 15 years; a lack of equipment prevents the site from serving anything that is not prepackaged; the school is in a low-income or underserved area where unemployment is at X percent and the school needs Y equipment to increase their service capacity in response to higher rate of F/RP eligibility).
- Up to 10 points for SFAs that provide an average justification for grant need. An average justification lacks in specifics but is relevant to the application goals (e.g., equipment is old and outdated and food quality can be improved with new equipment; equipment will allow the school to purchase necessary equipment to start serving breakfast in the classroom or a salad bar). These statements are informative but lack specific details.
- Up to 5 points for SFAs that provide a weak justification for grant need. A weak justification lacks specifics and does not adequately describe the need for a grant.
(D) Points for description of equipment (up to 15 points)
Documentation in the form of a narrative of how funding will support specified efforts. SFAs will be awarded the most points for providing a strong justification, which includes documentation that the equipment is essential to achievement and how the SFA will sustain improvement in one or more of the following four focus areas:
- Improve nutritional quality, serve healthier meals, and meet nutritional standards
- Improve food safety
- Improve energy efficiency of food service
- Increase participation
- Up to 15 points for SFAs that provide a strong justification that the equipment is necessary for achievement in one or more of the four focus areas. A strong justification must define numbers and percentages when identifying need and effect (e.g., equipment will reduce energy costs by 25 percent; equipment will allow for on-site preparation of fresh fruits and vegetables, which will increase consumption by 30 percent and reduce produce costs by 20 percent; equipment will expand refrigeration capacity, which will decrease delivery costs, and with X savings the SFA can buy a salad bar in order to serve X percent more fresh fruits and vegetables; equipment will allow the site to start serving breakfast in the classroom and increase breakfast participation by at least 90 percent). A strong justification will also define how the SFA will sustain improvement in the four focus areas in detail if awarded the requested equipment. Additionally, to receive all 15 points, an SFA must specifically document how the equipment will help improve nutritional quality, serve healthier meals, and meet nutritional standards.
- Up to 10 points for SFAs that provide an average justification for the equipment being necessary for making achievements in one or more of the four focus areas. An average justification will draw a strong correlation between the need and affect of equipment but may fail to identify specific numbers or percentages when identifying need and affect (e.g., equipment will allow staff to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables on site and reduce dependence on prepackaged produce; the school needs to expand refrigeration capacity so that it can cut down on delivery costs). An average justification will also make mention of how the SFA plans to sustain improvement in the four focus areas, but provide little detail. These statements are informative but lack specific details.
- Up to 5 points for SFAs that provide a weak justification for why this equipment is necessary for achieving one or more of the four focus areas. A weak justification will lack specifics and does not describe a need for a grant or how the SFA will sustain improvement in the four focus areas (e.g., equipment will increase food safety but applicant fails to describe how; equipment will expand refrigeration capacity but applicant fails to describe how the increased capacity will have an effect on their food service program).
(E) Points for indicating the four focus areas will be addressed by selecting specific bullet points (up to 25 points)
- 10 points for improving nutritional quality, serving healthier meals, and meeting nutritional standards:
- Provides fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch or breakfast
- Increases variety of entrees
- Enables scratch cooking
- Increases ability to prepare foods in a healthy manner such as steaming, baking, or grilling
- 5 points for improving food safety:
- Decreases cross-contamination risks
- Improves sanitation
- Maintains proper temperature
- Replaces outdated or worn equipment
- 5 points for improving energy efficiency of food service:
- Increases storage and decreases frequency of deliveries
- Replaces outdated or worn equipment
- 5 points for expanding participation:
- Enables preparation and service of additional meals
- Increases the variety of entrée choices
- Adds additional points of service
- Provides meals to more sites
- Implements smarter lunchrooms strategies that increase convenience and access to meals and promotes healthier choices.