Getting Started With the NSLP

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides per meal cash reimbursements to public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions that provide free and reduced price lunches to eligible children. In order to become approved to participate, there are multiple steps a school food authority must complete. Please be advised this process is designed to take at least six months.

Things to Consider Before Applying

Is the school eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program?

  • Public and private schools that accept full administrative and financial responsibility are eligible to participate in the programs.
  • All public schools are eligible to participate.
  • Private schools must qualify according to USOE rules and have nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Does this make financial sense for the program?

Evaluate the kitchen and storage facilities. Is there space for children to eat meals?

  • Is there adequate space and equipment to store, cook, prepare and serve meals?
  • What type of kitchen does your school have?
    On-Site Kitchen: All food is stored, prepared and served on site.
    Shared Kitchen: A licensed kitchen facility that is shared by two or more school food authorities and/or foodservice companies.
    Satellite Kitchen: All food is brought into the school by an outside kitchen; the school only has capability to reheat and serve meals. The food is prepared within the district, but not at this kitchen.
    Vended Kitchen: All food is brought into the school by an outside catering company or from a separate school food authority. The school has no capability to heat and serve meals. “Outside catering company” is the key here – the individual site does not prepare food, nor does another school in the same district handle it.
    Retherm Kitchen: Preparation and production are limited to reheating previously prepared, stored, and chilled food to serving temperature. Mostly commercially-prepared items. Need storage space for a minimum of one week of storage.

If interested in applying to the National School Lunch Program, please contact:

Janalee Smith
Child Nutrition Programs Specialist
(801) 538-7685

*To be considered for the 2015-16 school year, applications must be received before June 1, 2015. Applications received between June 1, 2015 and February 15, 2016 will be considered for school year 2016-17. Applications received after February 15, 2016 will be considered for the following 2017-18 school year.

To contact us:

Utah State Office of Education
Child Nutrition Programs
250 East 500 South
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200
(801) 538-7680