School Breakfast Program

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

The number of schools and children participating in the breakfast program has been increasing. In fiscal year 2007, over 1.71 billion breakfasts were served, 80.3 percent to needy children. School breakfasts must provide, over a school week, 1/4 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for key nutrients and 1/4 of the calories needed by growing children. They also must conform to the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including limitations on calories from fat (no more than 30 percent of total calories) and saturated fat (less than 10 percent of total calories).

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federally appropriated School Breakfast Program funds are available to reimburse participating public and nonprofit private schools, of high school grade and under and residential child care institutions, for breakfasts, meeting the nutritional requirements prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture, served to eligible children.

The rates of reimbursement are adjusted on an annual basis to reflect changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

For the period July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, the rates of reimbursement are 24.0 cents for paid breakfasts, 105.0 cents for each reduced price breakfast, and 135.0 cents for each free breakfast.

The maximum reduced price charged for breakfast is 30 cents.

Schools serving 40 percent or more free and reduced price lunches in the second preceding school year get up to 131.0 cents and 161.0 cents for each breakfast served to children qualifying, respectively, for a reduced price and a free breakfast.

All participating schools must agree to serve free and reduced price meals to eligible children, and to operate the program on a nonprofit basis for all children regardless of race, sex, color, National origin, age, or disability.

Federal program funds for the School Breakfast Program are provided to each State agency in a Child Nutrition block grant along with program funds for the National School Lunch Program, the Special Milk Program for Children, the Summer Food Service Program for Children, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Congress has given some leeway to States to determine how this block of money will actually be allocated among these programs at the State level based on program needs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State and U.S.

Territory agencies; (except territories subject to the requirements to the Compact of Free Association) public and nonprofit private schools of high school grade and under; public and nonprofit private residential child care institutions, except Job Corps Centers.

Schools desiring to participate must agree to operate a nonprofit breakfast program that is available to all children regardless of race, sex, color, National origin, age, or disability.

Beneficiary Eligibility

All children attending schools where the breakfast program is operating may participate. Breakfast is served free to children who are determined by local educational agencies to have household income levels at or below 130 percent, and at a reduced price to children from households with incomes higher than 130 but at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line, respectively. Meals served to non-needy children also get cash assistance. Such determinations are made in accordance with income eligibility guidelines prescribed by the Secretary and cross reference household income with household size. The Secretary prescribes these income eligibility guidelines by July 1; the statistical source used in making such revisions is the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines. Children from households certified to receive food stamps, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and some children in Head Start Programs are automatically eligible for free meals. Homeless children, children in certain runaway and homeless youth grant programs, and migrant children are automatically eligible for free meals.


Applicant organizations must furnish evidence of nonprofit status. Costs will be determined in accordance with USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations (7 CFR Part 3015 or 3016 and 3019).

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The application forms as furnished by the State agency or FNS, as applicable, must be used for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance.

Application Procedures

Public schools in all States make application to the State Educational Agency unless the State applies or is approved for a waiver to designate an alternate agency. Appropriate forms may be obtained from this agency. Nonprofit private schools should also apply to the State Educational Agency in most States. In some States, however, the State Educational Agency is prohibited by statute from disbursing Federal funds to nonprofit private schools. In such instances, the application will be referred to the alternate State agency or the appropriate Food and Nutrition Service regional office.

Award Procedures

When application is approved, schools make agreements with appropriate agency.


Please contact the program contact listed in the Information Contacts section below.


Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1773, 1779, Public Laws 104-193, 100-435, 99-661, 97-35.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Agreements become effective upon approval by the State Agency or FNSRO, where applicable.


None. The State Agency or Food and Nutrition Service regional office, where applicable, is responsible for determining a school's eligibility.


Permanent, amended as necessary.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Federal funds are made available for breakfast assistance in accordance with Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act on a performance basis by: (1) multiplying the number of paid breakfasts served to eligible children during the fiscal year by a National Average Payment (NAP); (2) multiplying the number of breakfasts served free to eligible children by a NAP prescribed by the Secretary for free breakfasts; and, (3) multiplying the number of reduced price breakfasts served to eligible children by a NAP prescribed by the Secretary for reduced-priced breakfasts. The amount of Federal funds given the grantee is the sum of the products obtained from these three computations, plus an additional 6 cents for every breakfast served. Schools with a high percentage of needy may receive additional payments. The statistical factors used in this formula are: (1) The NAP's; (2) the number of paid breakfasts served; and (3) the number of breakfasts served free or at reduced price to eligible children. The NAP's are prescribed by the Secretary and adjusted each July 1, in accordance with the Food Away From Home component of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The source of this adjustment factor is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The source of the numbers of breakfasts served, including the number served free or at reduced price, is the monthly programmatic reports submitted to Food and Nutrition Service. This program has no maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

For the period covered by the agreement on a fiscal-year basis.

Post Assistance Requirements


State Agencies, schools and institutions file monthly reports on the number of meals served, by type, to claim for reimbursement.

Schools and institutions must submit final meal claims to the State no later than 60 days after claiming month.

States must submit final program reports to Food and Nutrition Service no later than 90 days after the claiming month.

States must submit a final fiscal year grant closeout report to the Food and Nutrition Service no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," State and local governments, and non profit organizations that expended $500,000 or more under Federal awards within any fiscal year shall have either a single audit or (in certain cases) a program specific audit made for that year. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in OMB Circular A-133.


Schools must maintain full and accurate records of the breakfast program. Such records shall be retained for a period of 3 years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain, except that if audit findings have not been resolved, records shall be retained beyond the 3 year period until audit findings have been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $2,228,842,422; FY 08 est $2,367,186,000; and FY 09 est $2,522,286,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Average Federal cash assistance for school year 2007 ranged from 24.0 to 157.0 cents per meal depending upon income levels of the individual participant and upon the number of free and reduced price meals served by the school. Individual State grants vary according to participation in the program.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Regulations 7 CFR Part 220-School Breakfast Program regulations, 7 CFR Part 245-Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk in Schools.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Headquarters Office Director, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA 22302. Telephone: (703) 305-2590. Contact: Cynthia Long, Director.

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