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Provisional Programs

Provisional Programs

The intent of provisional programs is to improve access to free school meals and simplify meal counting and claiming procedures. A school participating in Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) must serve National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program meals to all participating children, at no charge, for up to four consecutive years.

Benefits from these provisional programs include increased participation, reduced stigma, simplified food nutrition operations and reduced unpaid meal charges. Provision 2 federal reimbursement is based on meal claiming percentages determined during the base year. CEP federal reimbursement is based on percentages of identified students who are directly certified for free or reduced-price meals.

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a meal service option that allows school districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household income applications. Rather than collecting applications, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed by federal funds using a formula based on the percentage of students participating in specific programs. This percentage is referred to as ISP (Identified Student Percentage) and must be reported annually to CDE. Those programs include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Homeless and Runaway Youth
  • Migrant Children
  • Foster Children
  • Head Start
  • Students approved by local school district officials

Any difference between the federal reimbursement and the cost of providing all meals at no charge will need to be covered from sources other than federal funds, such as the general fund. School districts that choose to implement CEP may operate using the same reimbursement rate for up to four years.


CEP General Guidance Brochure

2023-24 CEP Participation Data 

Who is Eligible

To be eligible to implement CEP, school districts must have one or more schools with an identified student percentage (ISP) of 25% or greater. Eligible schools will be notified by CDE. In an eligible school district's Base Year, the ISP will be multiplied by a factor of 1.6, to determine the total percentage of students at the free rate of reimbursement. For example, a school with a 62.5% ISP, multiplied by the factor of 1.6 will receive 100% at the free reimbursement rate. If the total percentage of students is below 100%, the remaining percentage of students will be reimbursed at the paid rate.



The Portal opens for annual reporting on April 1. See the resources below for additional instructions.

If a district chooses to implement CEP either districtwide, for a group of sites, or for a single site, the district must formally notify CDE of this decision via the CEP Request Form.

Program Resources

Provision 2

Provision 2 allows school districts to serve breakfast and lunch to all children at participating schools at no charge by reducing the application process to once every four years and simplifies meal counting and claiming procedures by allowing a school to receive meal reimbursement based on claiming percentages established in a Base Year. During a Base Year, there is no change in traditional procedures and administrative burden. During years two, three and four of the cycle, the school makes no new eligibility determinations and continues to serve all children meals at no charge and counts only the total number of meals served each day. Then, based on the Base Year Percentages, meals are reimbursed at Free, Reduced, and Paid rates. Any difference between the federal reimbursement and the cost of providing all meals at no charge will need to be covered from sources other than federal funds, such as the general fund.

Any school district may choose to participate in Provision 2, however, districts with a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price meals will experience the most benefit.



Program Resources