The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) are Federally funded school nutrition programs under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of these programs is to provide students with a nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free meal each school day to ensure they can learn. Each year, the USDA sets reimbursement rates to cover the costs of providing free and reduced meals and partially supporting paid meals for schools or districts that follow the set standards.

Each state participating in these Federal programs must provide a certain amount of matching funds based on a set rate. However, many states offer additional funding for school meals on top of the matching requirement. States, cities, or localities are typically responsible for covering any costs associated with the service of school meals, including facilities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), nutrition resources, food service workers’ salaries, and funds that assist with general operations. It is up to each state’s legislator or assembly to mandate participation in Federal meals programs, resulting in a wide array of various school food systems and food insecurity among students across the country.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has published several nationwide waivers to help mitigate some of the issues facing school nutrition programs and students due to school closures and supply chain disruptions. This report is a comprehensive summary of each state’s current mandates and funding to support with additional reference charts located on the last few pages. The information reflected in this document is, to the best of SNA’s knowledge, collected from state agencies and is subject to change throughout the year. Please send all inquiries or documented corrections regarding this report to advocacy@schoolnutrition.org.

Ad for membership campaign, links to membership recruitment page

Resource Type


Year Added

2021

Related Resources