Ohio, Pennsylvania to expand free school meal access

Both states have allocated funding in their budgets to provide more free meals at school.
A student grabs a piece of fruit
More students in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be eligible for free meals at school thanks to additional state funding. | Photo: Shutterstock

Free school meal access is expanding in Ohio and Pennsylvania, thanks to new funding included in both states’ budget bills. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state’s budget into law last week, which allocates $8.4 million to provide free breakfast and lunch daily to students who qualify for reduced-price school meals. 

Similarly, Pennsylvania’s budget, which has passed the state's House and Senate, includes $46 million for free daily lunch for students who would otherwise receive reduced-price ones. 

In addition, those funds will be used to continue Pennsylvania's universal free breakfast program for another year.

The program, which began at the start of last school year, has increased student participation in school breakfast, according to data from the state’s Department of Education. Earlier this year, the department said more than 23 million breakfasts have been served to Pennsylvania students since universal free breakfast was implemented.

States including Louisiana and Arizona have also passed legislation to cover the cost of reduced-price meals for students. In Louisiana, this will go into effect with the coming school year.



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