Managing Agency Tennessee

Program Description

The School Breakfast and Lunch Programs are for the public school systems, charter schools, private schools, and residential childcare institutions. The programs are available to all students. The meal cost varies based on the household income. Meals must meet nutrition standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

General Program Requirements

The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are open to all students. School systems must apply on an annual basis and agree to comply with USDA Federal regulations. Households which qualify for free or reduced meals must meet the guidelines for income and size of household or participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or other assistance programs.

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $22,311
2 $30,044
3 $37,777
4 $45,510
5 $53,243
6 $60,976
7 $68,709
8 $76,442

*For households with more than eight people, add $7,733 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Contact the Board of Education Office or school office for the county or city public school system and for other school systems or contact the principal or director's office. Request an application for free or reduced price lunches. Complete and turn into the office. A notification of approval or a letter of denial will determine the eligibility for a free, reduced or paid lunch.

Program Contact Information

To find out more about the school nutrition programs, the Tennessee School Nutrition Program office toll-free phone number is:

The local school office also will have information about the program. Please visit the Tennessee School Nutirition page. 

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