The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally funded meal program operating in public, public charter, and nonprofit private schools as well as residential child care institutions (RCCIs). The NSLP provides cash subsidies to assist schools with meeting meal costs while providing students nutritious lunches during the school day. OSSE WNS School Programs administers the NSLP for the District of Columbia and ensures that all participating schools meet the guidelines, rules and regulations as required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Schools must apply to participate on an annual basis and are required to meet certain nutrition, meal, and paperwork requirements. In addition, schools must provide free and reduced priced lunches to those children who are eligible. Children qualify for free and reduced priced meals based upon inclome guidelines established by the USDA on an annual basis.
Schools receive funding by being reimbursed for the eligible (meet all nutrition and meal requirements) lunches served. These are often called “reimburseable meals”. How much a school is reimbursed depends on how many of each category of meals is served; free,reduced and paid. Eligible Lunches served to children who qualify for free meals are reimbursed at a higher rate than those meals served to children who qualify for paid meals.
Participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is voluntary. Parents can not be required to complete applications for participation and schools are not required to participate in the program.