Paid Lunch Equity (PLE)
School Year 2024
School Food Authorities (SFAs) that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and charge students a 'paid' price per meal are required to price meals on an average, equal to the difference between free meal reimbursement and the paid meal reimbursement. For school year 2024, the required average amount to charge is $3.56.
SFAs with a positive or zero balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of June 30, 2022 may request an exemption to the PLE pricing requirements.
- PLE Tool SY 2024 – includes instructions
- PLE Guidance Memo
- PLE Attestation for Exemption Request - SFAs must have a positive or zero balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of June 30, 2022.
- Paid Lunch Equity Tool Webinar
- Paid Lunch Equity Tool PowerPoint
- Regulations regarding Equity in School Lunch Pricing
The PLE Tool was not required to be completed in SY23.
Pricing and Charging Resources
- Unallowable Costs (pdf)
- SP46-2016 Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies (pdf)
- SP47-2016 Unpaid Meal Charges: Clarification on Collection of Delinquent Meal Payments (pdf)
USDA Instructions for Adult Pricing
Pricing of Adult Meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. (pdf) USDA instruction sets forth the policy on pricing of meals served to adults under the National School Lunch, Commodity School, and School Breakfast Programs in participating schools and institutions which claim reimbursement under Sections 4 and 11 of the National School Lunch Act and Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act.
Adult Visitors: The charge to adult visitors, at the discretion of school officials, may be higher than the charge paid by adult school employees.
School Food Service Employees: Meals served to cafeteria employees directly involved in the operation and administration of the breakfast and lunch programs (e.g., managers, cooks, servers, etc.) may be served at no charge and considered as a fringe benefit attributable to program costs. Therefore, the cost of such meals may be paid from program funds. Charging school food service employees for meals is left to the discretion of school officials.
Other School District Employees: The benefits of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are for children only. The reimbursement and commodities received by schools are based on the number of lunches and breakfasts served to students.
No reimbursement or USDA Food are provided for meals served to adults.