The School Breakfast Program provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. School breakfast is a critical support for struggling families trying to stretch limited resources and provides children a significant portion of the nutrition they need to learn and be healthy.
Quick Facts: 2015–2016 School Year
- 12.1 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program on a typical day in the 2015–2016 school year.
- 92.2 percent of schools serving lunch also served breakfast.
- 56 low-income children participated in school breakfast for every 100 that participated in school lunch.
Any public school, nonprofit private school, or residential child care institution can participate in the School Breakfast Program and receive federal funds for each breakfast served. The program is administered at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in each state typically through the department of education or agriculture.
To find out the agency that administers the program in your state, check USDA’s list of state administering agencies.
Follow this link to USDA guidance on the School Breakfast Program.
Explore These Topics
- Benefits of School BreakfastStarting the day with a healthy school breakfast ensures that children have the nutrition they need to learn and thrive. A wide body of research supports the health and educational benefits of participation in the School Breakfast Program. Find out more about the research.
- Eligibility and ReimbursementsLow-income children are eligible to receive meals for free or at a reduced-price based of their household income or participation in other government programs, such as SNAP. Find out more about how children are certified for free and reduced-price school meals.
- School Breakfast Expansion StrategiesThe most successful strategies for increasing school breakfast participation are to serve breakfast after the bell and offer free breakfast to all students in high-poverty schools. Find out how to make these strategies work in your state or community.
- Community Eligibility ProvisionCommunity eligibility allows high-poverty schools and districts offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students and realize significant administrative savings. Many schools have opted to combine community eligibility with proven models like breakfast in the classroom, to boost breakfast participation.
- State School Breakfast LegislationStates have passed a variety of types of legislation to increase school breakfast participation, including legislation for Breakfast in the Classroom. Find out more.
- State Advocacy OpportunitiesState and local advocacy can have a dramatic impact on school breakfast participation — whether it is passing legislation to support school breakfast expansion, raising awareness of low participation rates in your state, or working to bring stakeholders together to support expansion of breakfast in the classroom. Advocates across the country have implemented these effective strategies to boost breakfast participation in their states and communities. Find out more.
Mapping School Breakfast: Participation, Funding, and Growth
Check out FRAC’s interactive map highlighting program participation and grant funding data to serve as a tool to expand school breakfast participation at the state and local level.