Sending Office: Honorable Tim Ryan
Sent By:

The Expanding Access to School Meals Act

 Expands Free Lunch/Breakfast & Eliminates Reduced Price Meals 

Dear Colleague:

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) form the second largest food and nutrition assistance program in our nation. In

, the NSLP provided 30 million federally subsidized lunches and 15 million federally subsidized breakfasts to children every school day. But while this program has played a vital role in addressing student hunger, there are still far too many children
who go to school hungry each day.

Research has shown that food insecurity can have a profoundly negative effect on not only a child’s physical and mental health but on their school attendance and academic performance as well. Children who are hungry cannot learn.

From food insecurity to rising instances of unpaid meal debt and lunch shaming, each of these signal a need for Congress to re-examine our school meal programs. My bill seeks to expand access for students to receive meals at school by doing the following:

  • Expands Poverty Threshold for Free Lunches & Breakfasts
    • Students at or below 200 percent of the poverty level would qualify for free lunches and breakfasts.
    • Currently, only children whose families are living below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL) are eligible for free meals.
  • Eliminates Reduced-Price Meals
    • Removes this category in order to expand eligibility for free meals.
  • Increases the Community Eligibility Provision Multiplier
    • Changes multiplier from 1.6 to 1.8 percent to provide schools with a greater incentive to participate in this program
  • Direct Certification for Medicaid and CHIP
    • Allows States to use Medicaid and CHIP participation data to directly certify students for free meals (who meet the income threshold).

As children head back to school this fall, please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation. To become an original cosponsor or for more information, please contact Rachel Jenkins ( in my office.




Tim Ryan

Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Education, Family Issues, HealthCare

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