Free or Reduced Price Meals FAQ

We appreciate families taking time to apply for free or reduced price school meals - thank you!

There's no difference between students who receive free/reduced price lunch and those who don't.  All children use the school lunchroom keypad to input their student number when receiving meals. 

Applying for free or reduced-price lunch is easy and confidential, choose which works best for you:

Apply online at, click the link and follow the instructions.  Safe, secure, convenient and available 24/7.

OR fill out a hard copy form and submit by mail or drop off at the school office.   Hard copy forms are available from the school office, from the Child Nutrition Office or download an Application for free and reduced meals.

  • Qualifying for free or reduced price lunch may also qualify your family to pay a lower fee or no fee for school activities.  
  • Students who qualify take the ACT Test at school for free.  
  • Families who qualify are helping Duluth schools receive additional education funds and discounts. 

Children in households participating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and foster children can get free school meals without reporting household income.

Also, children can get free or reduced price meals if their household income is within the income shown for the household size on the instructions.

A new application must be submitted each school year. Approval for school meals is good for the school year.

Questions about Free or Reduced Price meals?  Please call us at 218-336-8807, we're happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can foster children get free meals? Yes, foster children who are the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals regardless of household income. An application must be submitted.

I get WIC. Can my children get free meals? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please fill out an application. 

Will the information I give be checked? Yes, we may ask you to send written proof.

If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later? Yes. You may apply at any time during the school year if your income goes down, household size goes up or if you start getting Food Support (SNAP), MFIP, or FDPIR benefits.

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your children do not have to be U.S. citizens for your children to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. 

Who should I include as members of my household? Include yourself and all other people living in the household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives or friends). Include a household member who is temporarily away, such as a college student. 

What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally get. If you normally get overtime, include it, but not if you get it only sometimes. 

How will the information I provide be kept? Information you provide on the form, and your child’s approval for school meal benefits, will be protected as private data. See the back page of the application for more information about how the information is used.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing.

Why is it important to turn in the free and reduced lunch application by September 27, 2019?  In order for your school to receive extra federal funding (which can keep classes small), our district must submit your application to the federal government by October 1, 2019. Applications sent to the federal government after that time will not help schools receive extra funding. Also, if you don’t submit the form and aren’t able to pay your lunch bill, the federal government may not reimburse your school for all your child’s meals.  In short, your school loses money.

An additional benefit for families of students that are in activities is that they will pay a lower fee or no fee for participating in an activity if you qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

What happens if I turn in the application later in the year?  You will still be eligible for free or reduced lunches, but you won’t help your school qualify for extra federal funding.  Also, some families are not able to pay their lunch bill and build up a debt.  

Does the district “forgive” lunch debt if a family later turns in an application?  The district does not “forgive” outstanding lunch debt. Consistent with the treatment of other debts owed to the district, all outstanding debt related to the lunch program will be subject to handling by a collection agency.

How often do I need to fill out the application?  You must submit a new application each school year.  You need just one application per family with names of all the adults and children who live in your household.

Can you help me if I have trouble filling out the application?  Yes, if you need help with the form, please call the Child Nutrition Department at 336-8707 and they will be happy to assist you.  Forms are available in the following languages: English, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. 

How Do I Qualify For Free/Reduced Price Lunch?