HISD to continue offering free and reduced-price meals to students

Houston Independent School District will continue its policy to operate the Community Eligibility Provision Program (CEP) under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2022-2023 school year.

Schools qualifying to operate CEP serve breakfast and lunch to all children at no charge and eliminate the collection of meal applications for free, reduced-price, and paid student meals. This approach reduces burdens for both families and school administrators and helps ensure that students receive nutritious meals.

Nine schools are required to participate in the application process. The Free/Reduced Price School Meals application will only be available at these select campuses and can be completed online or hard copy. The central office also has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by anyone on request.

The nine schools include:

  • High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA)
  • Harvard Elementary
  • Horn Elementary
  • Mark Twain Elementary
  • Travis Elementary
  • Oak Forest Elementary
  • River Oaks Elementary
  • West University Elementary
  • Roberts Elementary

Starting in August, HISD will begin distributing letters to households of children in the district about eligibility benefits and any actions they need to take to apply for these benefits.

Criteria for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits

The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits:


1. Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels

Categorical or Automatic Eligibility

2. Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution

Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) Program Participant

3. Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster

4. Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start

Income Eligibility

For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must fill out free and reduced-price meal application and return it to Student Eligibility and Accountability Department of Houston ISD or call 713-491-5944. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:

1. Names of all household members

2. Amount, frequency, and source of current income for each household member

3. Last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for “No Social Security number

4. Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct

Categorical or Program Eligibility

Houston ISD is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. Houston ISD will notify the households of these children that they do not need to complete an application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should have should contact Nutrition Services Student Eligibility and Accountability eligibilityinfo@houstonisd.org.

Any household that wishes to decline benefits should contact Nutrition Services Student Eligibility and Accountability at eligibilityinfo@houstonisd.org.

Applications for the 9 schools may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Applications may also be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

Determining Eligibility

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, Student Eligibility and Accountability Clerks will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Student Eligibility and Accountability at eligibilityinfo@houstonisd.org or 713-491-5944.

Unexpected Circumstances

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the attached current income eligibility guidelines.