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School Breakfast Program

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) has been serving breakfast to school children across the nation since the pilot program began in 1966. Today, more than 14 million children nationwide participate in the SBP. Statewide, the participation number is over 400,000 meals daily.

Numerous studies, including research from Harvard and Tufts Universities, have shown a direct correlation between school breakfast participation and academic performance. In addition, breakfast participation has shown to improve school attendance, students' attention spans, and performance of tasks; fewer problems with irritability, anxiety and aggression were also noted.

How does it work?
The SBP is a federal and state reimbursement program for each breakfast served that meets federal requirements. All SBP sponsors are required to offer free and reduced - price breakfasts to eligible children. Reimbursement rates are established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) annually.

Who may participate?
Any public school, intermediate unit, charter school, area vocational technical or career technology school, public residential child care institution and tax exempt non-public school or residential child care institution may apply to be a SBP sponsor.

How do children qualify for free or reduced price breakfast?
Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level, children in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or children in families receiving food stamp benefits are eligible for free breakfasts. Those children in families whose income is between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price breakfasts.

What are the meal requirements?
To qualify for reimbursement, all SBP breakfasts must meet federal nutrition requirements. School breakfasts must offer foods from the three required components that include whole or enriched grain, fruit, and fluid milk. Sponsors also have the option to include a vegetable or meat/meat alternate on the breakfast menu. Serving sizes vary based on the grade level of the students. Decisions about the specific foods to serve and the methods of preparation are made by local school food authorities.

More information may be found on the School Breakfast Program (SBP) Fact Sheet | Food and Nutrition Service (