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Federal Assistance Now Available to Help Pay for Student Meals and Milk for 2007-08 School Year
August 8, 2007 - The state's top education official is encouraging eligible parents and guardians to apply for federal assistance programs that provide free and reduced-price lunches and free milk to students.
"We know that student health and learning go hand in hand," Suellen Reed, Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, said in a press release issued by the Indiana Department of Education Monday. "This is an important opportunity for our low-income families to get the support and raise student achievement in the process."
Reed's comments came as the federal government released its 2007-08 school year guidelines for household size and income (see graphic) for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast and Special Milk programs, which assist those families unable to pay the full price for students' meals and milk at school. According to the DOE, state law makes students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches eligible for free textbooks as well.
To apply for free or reduced-price benefits, households must complete the application - which is being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians - as soon as possible, sign it, and return it to the school. Parents or guardians should file one application per family, regardless of the number of students enrolled in the district.
Applications for assistance are reviewed by a local school corporation official who will determine eligibility, and applications for assistance may be submitted at any time during the school year. Families that become eligible after the school year starts are encouraged to apply anytime there is a decrease in household income, an increase in household size or a household member becomes unemployed.
In certain cases, foster children are eligible for meal or milk benefits regardless of household income. Anyone caring for foster children who wishes to apply for assistance for these students' meals or milk should contact their local school corporation for help with the application.
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