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Eligibility Carryover Period

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Child Nutrition Program Sponsors

Attention: Program Operators

Number: SNP-22-2016

Date: October 2016

Reference: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Eliminating Applications through Community Eligibility as Required by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 245.6(c)(2) and 245.9(1); 81 Federal Register 50194, July 29, 2016)

Subject: Early Implementation of Eligibility Carryover Period for Students Transitioning from Provision Schools

This Management Bulletin advises local educational agencies (LEA) to provide carryover eligibility for free school meals for the first 30 operating days to students transitioning to a non-Provision school from a school participating in a special Provision.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released Policy Memo SP 52-2016 on August 5, 2016, which strongly encourages early implementation of new regulatory provisions. The new regulatory provisions allow LEAs to provide carryover eligibility for free school meals for the first 30 operating days of School Year (SY) 2016–17 to students transitioning to non-Provision schools from schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program under special Provisions 1, 2, or 3, including the Community Eligibility Provision. LEAs can claim meals served to students during the carryover period at the free rate. This memo is available at the USDA Web page at

The recently published final regulation titled National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Eliminating Applications through Community Eligibility as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 245.6(c)(2) and 245.9(1); 81 Federal Register 50194, July 29, 2016) gives state agencies the ability to allow LEAs eligibility carryover for up to 30 operating days (or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first) to students who transfer from Provision to non-Provision schools, within or between LEAs, both during and between school years.

There are many benefits to implementing this option:

  • Creating Consistent Carryover Policy: Creates consistency between carryover policies, enhancing operational ease for local program operators by providing them with adequate time to collect and process household meal applications, and preventing confusion for families.
  • Preventing Unpaid Meal Charges: Ensures that the student does not accrue unpaid meal charges before an individual eligibility determination is made. Students who are eligible but not certified for free meals may be unable to afford meals at the paid rate, which can lead to unpaid meal charges and an unnecessary loss of funds for the nonprofit school food service account.
  • Supporting Transitioning Students: Supports low-income students and their families during a potentially challenging period and ensures that a transitioning student enters their new classroom well-nourished and ready to learn.

LEAs may implement the discretionary carryover opportunity immediately to ensure that children moving from Provision to non-Provision schools continue to have access to school meals at the beginning of SY 2016–17. The California Department of Education encourages districts to provide the carryover eligibility for free school meals for the first 30 operating days of the school year to students transitioning from Provision schools to non-Provision schools in subsequent school years.

Contact Information

For questions regarding this subject, please contact your School Nutrition Programs (SNP) Specialist. A list of SNP Specialists is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System Download Form section, Form ID Caseload. You can also contact the Northern SNP Unit Office Technician (OT) by phone at 916-322-3005, the Southern SNP Unit OT by phone at 916-322-1450, or call 800-952-5609, Option 2, to be directed to your SNP Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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