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Free & Reduced-Price Lunch

Variable Definitions:
Free & Reduced-Price Lunch: The percentage of students who are eligible to receive aid from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

California Department of Education (CDE) Ed-Data/Data Quest 

Years Available:
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Why are these variables important to measure?

Free & Reduced-Price Lunch

The number of students eligible for free & reduced-price lunch is often used as a proxy for student socio-economic need in a neighborhood. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federal program started in 1946 that provides free or reduced-price lunches and snacks to eligible students at public schools, nonprofit private schools, and residential child care institutions. Schools receive subsidies and food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal that they serve. Eligible students must have family incomes below 130 percent of the federal poverty line for free lunch or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line for reduced-price lunch. The lunches and snacks served must meet the nutrition standards set forth by the latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. School districts and independent schools must opt into the program and work with state governments on program operation and implementation.

“The national school lunch program.” United States Department of Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Service, November 2017. Link

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