Study: Participation Increases when Reduced-Price Category Eliminated

July 30-More students who qualify for reduced-price meals will participate when the 40-cent fee is eliminated, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

The study looked at five states and an additional 35 districts in 19 other states that have eliminated reduced-priced meal programs.

"One state and most district-level officials GAO interviewed or surveyed have reported that [eliminating reduced-price meal programs has] increased the rate of participation among students who are eligible for reduced-price meals," the report states. The report found that districts that eliminate the reduced-price meal category have to cover the money they would have made from these students; however, that money is made up for with increased federal reimbursements due to higher participation.

In addition, the study stated that districts benefited from eliminating the reduced-price meal category because it decreases the burden on staff to collect unpaid meal fees.