Program Description and Requirements


The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) are Federal Programs that may provide nutritious meals to all school children at no cost or a minimal cost. Families may apply for the programs by submitting a Household Income Application which is provided by the school. The school is then responsible for certifying the students for free, reduced-price, or paid meals.

The National School Lunch Program is a MANDATORY program for all elementary schools, middle schools and junior high schools to participate in as defined in Public Law 108-265 with the exception of private schools that have less than 100 students. This is mandated by ARS 15-242.

Schools must apply through the Department of Education and complete the requirements prior to the operation of these programs. Once approved, schools will receive reimbursement from the Department of Education for each lunch and breakfast meal served provided they meet established nutrition standards and state and federal regulations.


The Arizona Department of Education will conduct periodic reviews of the school lunch program to ensure that program sponsors are in compliance with the regulations.

Other programs available:

The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools and childcare institutions who do not participate in other Federal meal service programs. The program reimburses schools for the milk they serve.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet Federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children 18 years old and under at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.

Food Distribution ProgramThe USDA Foods Program distributes wholesome foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins to support school meals that meet USDA regulations.  


Contact Information

National School Lunch Program & School Breakfast Program
Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street, Bin 7
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Tel: (602) 542-8700
Toll Free: (800) 352-4558
Fax: (602) 542-3818 or (602) 542-1531