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School Finance

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Information

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a federal program under the USDA's National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. It allows schools that serve a high proportion of low-income students to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students rather than collecting individual applications and limiting free and reduced-price lunches to only income-eligible students. School's eligibility for CEP is based on data from other federal programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families (TANF). To find which schools are eligible, contact the NJ Department of Agriculture (NJDA), or view the list on NJDA's website.

Nonpublic schools may participate in CEP, but (except APSSDs) they do not need to collect the NJ Household Information Survey since they do not report students' income to the state. Nonprofit APSSDs participating in CEP and all for-profit APSSDs are required to distribute the Surveys for students sent from public schools in cooperation with their sending districts.

NJ Household Information Survey & letter templates for CEP schools/districts:

Guidance for CEP schools and districts:

  • Work Plan – a step-wise outline for the implementation of the CEP program for schools/districts to follow, with links to required resources.
  • Quick Reference Guide – for interpreting Survey results to determine household income
  • Detailed Procedures - for Administering the NJ Household Information Survey
  • Sample Size Calculator – calculates number of students whose income must be verified
  • Verification Tracker – checklist to track the verification process for each student
  • Title I Guidance – The Community Eligibility Provision and Selected Requirements Under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended.

Information for parents:

Related Links:

Archives of Previous Year CEP Information: