Free and reduced-price meals

Meals available at no cost for all students in 2021-22

This school year, healthy meals will be offered every school day to all students at no cost. Typically, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued guidance that allows schools to offer meals to all students at no cost for the 2021-2022 school year. Each school/site or central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed upon request.

While no application or eligibility determination process is required for your student to receive free meals this school year, the income eligibility requirement will likely resume in the 2022-2023 school year.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  

Normally, a student’s economic status is determined by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) application.  GISD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) has elected to operate the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during SY 2021-2022, SNS will not process NSLP Free & Reduced-price lunch applications for SY 2021-2022. GISD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) will continue with the same designated CEP campuses as in the past.
The district has developed an economic survey form that is included in the back-to-school forms, because SNS is not processing free and reduced forms this year.  All parents will be asked to complete the economic survey this year. Parents have the option of providing this information to us.  Parents are encouraged to share this information with us because the school will/could receive federal funds and will be rated for accountability based on the economic survey information that they provide.

Our district participates in the National School Breakfast/Lunch program and provides free and reduced-price meals to students who qualify based on federal government guidelines.

A new application is required every school year.

Exceptions: Students at CEP schools do not have to submit free and reduced-price meal applications. However, parents may still need to submit applications for their other child(ren).

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

Schools that participate in CEP provide healthy breakfasts and lunches each day at no charge for all students enrolled in a CEP school for the 2020-21 school year.

In CEP schools, Free and Reduced-price Meal applications are no longer required*.

Important note about CEP schools and applications

*Parents, you may still need to submit a Free and Reduced-price Meal application even when you have a student at a CEP school.

  • If you have other child(ren) attending school(s) other than the CEP schools listed above, you must submit a Free and Reduced-price Meal application and include the name of child(ren) attending the CEP school.
  • If your child transfers to a non CEP school during the school year, you must submit a Free and Reduced-price Meal application.

Do I qualify?

Families that have a gross household income within the limits determined by federal government guidelines qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Special program participants

Families receiving benefits from any of the following special programs may be eligible for free meals:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Families must complete the Free and Reduced-price Meal Application and include the Eligibility Determination Group (EDG) number in the application to be approved for Free Meals.

Children attending Head Start, Early Head Start, and Even Start are also eligible for free meals.

Foster, homeless, runaway or migrant students

Foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals regardless of the income of their resident household.

Students who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for free meals. Please contact the GISD Homeless Liaison at 972-494-8255 to see if your child qualifies for this status.

Household income eligibility

Refer to the Federal income eligibility guidelines chart to determine if your children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income.

How to apply

A new application is required every school year. Parents should complete only one application for their family/household and list all students attending Garland ISD schools on the application.

You do not have to submit an application if:

  • Your child is Directly Certified (DC) for free meals
  • All of your children attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school

Apply for free and reduced-price meals

Directly Certified

If you received a notification letter that your child is directly certified for free meals, you do not have to complete an application. Contact Student Nutrition Services if any students in your household are not listed in the letter.

Paper applications

While applying online is faster, paper applications will be available upon request at each school and the Student Nutrition Services office.

Submitting your paper application

Applications must have an original signature, therefore we do not accept copied or faxed applications. Submit the application to your school's cafeteria manager or the Student Nutrition Services office to ensure it is received and processed promptly.

Application processing and approval

Please allow up to 10 operating days for processing once the Student Nutrition Services office has received your application. Applications are approved in the order they are received. Student Nutrition Services will make every effort to process your application as soon as possible.

A letter will mailed to the home address on file letting you know if your household qualifies for free or reduced-price meals. Contact your student’s school if you need to confirm the address on file or make changes to your address.

When do benefits start?

Once your application is approved students will start receiving their approved benefit the next school day. If you owe money for meals eaten before the application was approved, you are responsible for paying those charges. The benefit is only for meals eaten after the approved date.

Temporary benefits

Students that were receiving free or reduced-price meals at the end of the previous school year will receive the same benefit for the first 30 school days of the current school year. This gives parents time to submit a new application.  If an application is not received after 30 school days, your child will pay full price for their meals.

Application denial

If you application was denied you may reapply later in the school year if your income changes, household increases or if you qualify for SNAP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who should I include as members of my household?

You must include yourself and all people living in your household, related or not (such as children, grandparents, other relatives or friends) even if they do not have income, and any children not attending Garland ISD schools (not listed in Step 1 on the application form).

What is the difference between gross income and net income?

Gross income is income before pre-tax and taxed deductions. Net income is your take-home income.

What number do I list as my food stamps number?

Your 8 or 9 digits Eligibility Determination Group (EDG) number. If you do not know your EDG number, please call the number at the back of your Lone Star Card.

Can I use a Medicaid number instead of my food stamps number?

No, only a SNAP Eligibility Group number will be processed.

If my children receive CHIP do they qualify?

We cannot process an application based on CHIP information. However, your household may qualify based on your household size and income. Please submit an application for review.

My child transferred to another GISD school. Do I have to reapply?

No. Once we have an application on file the application is accepted at any school within GISD.

My child withdrew from GISD but has returned. How do we get back on the program?

The application will not automatically reinstate itself. Students will pay full price until the application is reinstated. Contact the Student Nutrition Services department to reinstate the application.

My family was approved but I don't want the benefit. How do we get removed?

Please send a signed letter to Kimberly Speed requesting the removal. In the letter please list your child(ren)'s name, ID number(s), and school(s).

Contact us

For more information about free and reduced-price meals, contact:

Student Nutrition Services