Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a universal meal plan under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) that permits eligible districts and schools to provide meal service to all students at no charge, regardless of economic status. (Section 104a of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act)
To be eligible to participate, a district, school, or groups of schools from the same district must have a directly certified identified student percentage of at least 40% by April 1, prior to the first year of implementation. Each school does not have to meet the 40% threshold individually if enrolling a district or groups of school within a district; however the average directly certified identified student percentage must be at least 40%.
- About CEP from the USDA
- Districts and Schools Eligible to Participate in CEP(2015-16 school year)
- Webinar (March 2014)
- CEP Deadline Extended until August 31
- Webinar of online application process for CEP
- USDA Guidance and Q&A
- Title I Guidance for Schools Electing Community Eligibility (March 2015)
- E-Rate Guidance for Schools Electing CEP (November 2014)
CEP District Toolkit
- CEP Fact Sheet
- Household Information Survey (with Spanish)2015-16
- Houshold Information Survey (English only)2015-16
- Household Survey Guide2015-16
- CEP Implementation in Tennessee
- Sample Letter to Parents
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Data Collection and Reporting
- Data Reports: CEP Student Query Instructions
Frequently Asked Questions download
A district/school will use the direct certified data as of April 1 of the school year prior to implementation. For the 2014-15 school year, a district/ school will use the direct certified data collected through the March 2014 claiming process.
No. These updates occur within the four year cycle.
If a district’s/school’s direct certified percent increases within the 4 year cycle, will the CEP claiming percentage automatically increase accordingly or will the district/school remain at the original claiming percentage determined at the time of application?
No, the CEP claiming percentage will not automatically increase if a district’s/school’s identified student percent increases. It will remain at the original claiming percentage determined at the time of application unless the district/school requests an update.
No. Although this program is now being offered nationwide, participation at the district/school level is completely optional.
You can download this form here: Household Information Survey
No. Determination for eligibility for the Voluntary pre-K program in Tennessee is application based. For questions on pre-K eligibility contact Connie.Casha@tn.gov
No, pre-K students are treated the same as all students for CEP. Some students may be direct certified while others may be eligible as determined by the application process.
Students in Tennessee's Pre-K are not automatically eligible for free lunches; they must be directly certified or complete an application. In order to receive free or reduced meal benefits, they must be included in enrollment and identified students as applicable.
It will enroll using the regular application packet via the Tennessee: Meals, Accounting and Claiming (TMAC) system.
Reimbursement is per meal served.
The reimbursement rate is different for breakfast and lunch. The current reimbursement rates are on the U.S. Department of Agriculture site http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/notices/naps/NAPs.htm.
No, however the CEP free claiming percentage may be used when determining school or site eligibility for other School Nutrition Programs such as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program, Afterschool Snacks and the Seamless Summer Option.
Consistent with current practice, all schools, including CEP schools, must charge for a´ la carte items and second meals.
The menus/servings must be planned to serve one meal per child per meal service (breakfast, lunch). No schools, including CEP schools, may provide a second serving or second meal for free.
It depends whether the charter school is operating as an independent entity (School Food Authority) or as a part of a school system. If the charter schools are acting independently, they will use the data they have gathered themselves. If a charter school is operating as a school within a LEA, it will use the data for the school or other schools within the district.
Funding for 2014-15 is current year data. In Tennessee, we will use the household survey (i.e. state form) to collect socioeconomic data for schools participating in CEP along with direct certification information for funding in 2015-16.
This is a local decision; however any employee paid 100% from school nutrition funds cannot collect and/or process the household survey.
No. districts/schools not participating in CEP will continue current practice i.e. collecting free and reduced price lunch applications.
Districts will use the free and reduced price data from the 2013-14 school year to make school level allocations for the 2014-15 school year. The department will continue to provide guidance on determining school level allocations for future school years.
Once enrolled, a district/school will maintain the same multiplier throughout the entire four year cycle.
The Federal Communications Commission, which sets policy for the E-rate program, has determined that community eligibility schools may continue to use the free and reduced-price certification data that they relied on for the most recent year in which the schools did not participate in community eligibility to determine discounts on services received under E-rate.
Because the household survey is not used to determine eligibility for meal services, it is not subject to the school nutrition administrative review. However, it may be reviewed during general school audits.