Confidentiality Disclosure of Free and Reduced Data

National School Lunch Program – NSLP

Limited Disclosure of Children’s Free and Reduced Price Meal or Free Milk Eligibility Information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided the following information:

“The Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994, PL 103-448, amended Section 9(b)(2)(C) of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) (42 U.S.C. 1751(b)(2)(C) to allow, without consent, limited disclosure of information about free and reduced price meal or free milk eligibility. The disclosure limitations apply to all the Child Nutrition Programs. The statute also specifies a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or both, for unauthorized disclosures of free and reduced price meal or free milk eligibility information.”

In practical terms what does this mean?

Schools may disclose only student names and eligibility status, without parental consent, for the following:

    • Title I
    • National Assessment of Educational Progress
    • Carl Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Programs
    • Summer Food Service Program
    • 21st Century Community Learning Communities Grant Program
    • Nebraska Student and Staff Record System
    • School District Membership Report

The student names and eligibility status can be disclosed to “persons directly connected” with the five programs listed above. The term “persons directly connected” includes Federal, State and Local program operators responsible for program administration or program compliance.

The remainder of the information on the free/reduced price applications cannot be released even to the programs listed above.

In no case are schools required to disclose eligibility information. Providing aggregate information that does not identify individuals continues to be permitted without consent.

USDA Guidance Memos

Updated October 22, 2019 11:24am