The national school lunch program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is well-known throughout the country for providing freed or reduced lunches to qualifying children. The USDA normally provides adequate funding for school districts whose children qualify for the program, with the 2021-2022 school year being different than most. In the wake of the economic damage caused by COVID-19, school districts have received additional funding to ensure their children are taken care of. Does this mean you should stop collecting application information, or are there ways you can maximize state and federal funding?
Why Income Surveys are Essential to Securing Funding
Even if your district is not collecting applications for free and reduced meals, you can, and should, still collect income surveys. Income surveys are similar to meal applications, except that they are solely used for the gathering of information and have no bearing on the meal status of a child. They are however very useful for gaining information that the school district can use in future years to assess how much funding should be provided.
For example, if it can be proven through income survey information that a majority of a district falls within the range for free meals, state government programs provide enough funding for all children to eat for free. Depending on the state and the nature of their programs, this information and qualification may be set for multiple years, so it is beneficial to collect the necessary information one year to secure funding for many.
Income Surveys and Additional Programs
In addition to the normal USDA school lunch program, there are other programs that can provide funding with adequate information collected from income surveys. On a national level, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are common for providing student lunch funding. Depending on the state, there are others that may come into play, such as CALworks and CALfresh in California. While oftentimes not directly linked to these programs, income surveys can provide information about qualifications for these programs and therefore can secure funding from them for your district.
If your school district is looking to maximize State and Federal funding, income surveys are an excellent way to collect the information necessary to secure funding from the USDA and other programs. At Image One, our Rocketscan product is specifically designed to process both free and reduced meal applications as well as income surveys and is guaranteed to speed up processing time and get you the results you need faster than ever. To learn more about Rocketscan and our paper and online application and income survey options, please contact us at (800) 956-9000 x255 or visit our Rocketscan income survey (CEP) page here.