MDE Announces New Income Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Priced School Meals, Free Milk

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The Michigan Department of Education announced new household income guidelines that are used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals. The new guidelines will be used for the 2014-2015 school year, and will be effective through June 30, 2015.

They will apply to ree and reduced-price meals and free milk available through the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs.

Families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to get free meals and milk at school. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals. Those meals can cost no more than 40 cents. About 70 percent of all students in Michigan K-12 schools were eligible for free or reduced lunches in 2013-14.

For a family of four in 2014-15, for instance, 130 and 185 percent of the poverty level is $31,005 and $44,123, respectively, both up about 1.27 percent over the previous year.

Families can contact their school, school district, child care center or family day care home sponsor to find out whether it participates in these programs.

Schools and day cares can provide a form to apply for free or reduced-price meals. Families only need to fill out one form per household.

Children who are enrolled in programs like the Michigan's Family Independence Program, Food Assistance Program, or Head Start, are
automatically qualified to receive free meals.

Families can apply for free, or reduced-price lunches at any time during the school year.

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