Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides the option to offer free meals to all students in eligible high poverty Local Education Agencies (LEA) and schools without collecting household applications.  Eligible LEAs and schools use a claiming percentage based on the number of identified students (primarily directly certified students) of at least 40%, multiplied by a factor of 1.6, to determine a free claiming percentage.  The difference between the free claiming percentage and 100% determines the percentage of meals to claim in the paid category.

Provided below is information to help determine if CEP is a good option for your LEA. 

Please Note:

This resource does not reflect the changes made by the Final Rule published on September 26, 2023, which lowered the minimum identified student percentage required to elect CEP from 40% to 25%.

Overview & Guidance

USDA Memos
  • SP-20-2017:  Community Eligibility Provision: Annual Notification and Publication Requirements 
  • SP-09-2024:  Community Eligibility Provision: Guidance and Updated Q&As
  • SP-52-2016:  Early Implementation of Eligibility Carryover Period for Students Transitioning from Provision Schools: State Agency Extension Option
  • SP-51-2016:  Ensuring Year-long Eligibility in the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs 
  • SP-30-2016:  Extension of the Deadline for Local Educational Agencies to Elect the Community Eligibility Provision for School Year 2016-17
  • SP-10-2015: Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs


CEP SY 2023-2024
CEP SY 2022-2023
CEP SY 2021-2022
CEP SY 2020-2021
CEP SY 2019-2020
CEP SY 2018-2019
CEP SY 2017-2018


CEP Calculators