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Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a meal service option that allows School Food Authorities (SFAs) and schools to offer meals at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Starting on Oct. 26, 2023, FNS lowered the minimum Identified Student Percentage (ISP) threshold to 25% to participate in CEP. By eliminating the household application process and streamlining meal counting and claiming procedures, CEP may help to significantly reduce administrative burden related to the School Meals Program. CEP may be implemented in individual schools, groups of schools, or entire school districts. 


USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Planning and Implementation Guidance

CEP Guidance Manual - Updated

Final Rule: Child Nutrition Programs - CEP Increasing Options for Schools

Implementation Materials


CEP eligibility is based on the identified student percentage (ISP) certified for free meals compared to the total enrollment of the eligible site(s). The individual site, group of sites, or SFA must have an ISP of 25% or higher to participate. SFAs may combine a group of sites or the entire SFA to meet the minimum ISP of 25%, this includes sites with an ISP less than 25% so long as the entire SFA or group’s ISP is at least 25%. 

The ISP includes:

  • Students identified through the Direct Certification list provided by AOE:

    • 3SquaresVT recipients; also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

    • Medicaid recipients under 130% federal poverty level (FPL) 

    • Reach Up Financial Assistance (RUFA) recipients; also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 

  • Extension of benefit siblings or household members of Directly Certified students 

  • Foster children certified by the State or local foster agency 

  • Homeless children identified by the Homeless Liaison 

  • Migrant Youth 

  • Runaways 

Students who are eligible for free meals based on submission of an application or reduced Medicaid recipients do not count towards the ISP. 

To Apply

To apply for CEP for school year 2024-2025, please submit the letter of intent to Amanda Vassallo by June 30, 2024. Once the letter of intent is received and approved, the Agency will reach out to request documentation to validate at least 25% of the enrolled students in eligible site(s) were identified as Directly Certified or Other Categorical as of April 1, 2024. The Agency will also request the CEP Amendment to the Free and Reduced Policy Statement to be submitted at that time. 




Norwich School District
United Christian Academy


The Compass School  
Winooski School District  
United Christian Academy  
VT Org for Jewish Education


  • CEP Report Intructions 
  • 2021-2022 CEP SFA and School Notification Report
    • The following SFAs did not submit their SY20-21 data:
      U055 Addison Central School District
      S009 Caledonia Central SU
      S068 Central Vermont Supervisory Union
      S019 Essex North SU
      U060 Harwood Unified Union School District
      T126 Milton Town School District
      R614 Northeastern Family Institute
      S034 Orleans Central SU
      R152 Rice Memorial High School
      R618 St. Francis Xavier
      P004 St. Johnsbury Academy
      R820 The Compass School
      R053 The Village School of North Bennington
      R594 United Christian Academy
      U092 Washington Central Unified Union School District
      R528 Washington County Mental Health Services Inc.
      S049 Windham Southwest SU
      T173 Rutland City School District
      R029 Vermont Permanency Initiative, Inc.
      S048 Windham Southeast SU