why are lunch forms so important
by: sokhna fall, '19
Fall officially kicked off on September 22, and America’s 50 million school-age children are already back in class. Along with concentrating on their studies, these students are consuming millions of prepared meals provided by public schools every day. However, there are wide reports of students throwing their food in the trash. How many students are actually aware of the importance of filling out lunch forms? How many are aware of the opportunities that the forms can provide them to extend far beyond just nutrition?
A school lunch form is a written or online application that a student takes in order to determine their eligibility for a free, reduced, or full priced school lunch. Breakfast is free regardless of the completion of a school lunch form. Nevertheless it's important and many students avoid filling out a school lunch application, and are unaware that they are suppressing their own chances to receive opportunities like fee waivers for college applications and SATs, which is determined by your eligibility status for lunch. Students with low income backgrounds are more likely to be supported with federal aid to cover for AP, SAT and ACT exams, as well as college applications ranging from prices of $45 to $93.
For a high school junior or senior to become eligible for fee waivers for college applications and SATS, crucial information the application requires is your household income. Household income plays an immense role in your eligibility status, which is determined by the federal government through a funding program called Title I. Ms. Prasinos is the Title I Coordinator for Hillcrest High School, she explains how qualification is determined by whether or not a student falls within a guideline income status, “If they fall below the guideline, they get free lunch. If they fall above the guideline, then they must pay for school lunch. If they do not qualify, it is because after the review of their application, they make enough money to pay the $1.75. This is also the case for the fee waivers and other academic opportunities.”
Handing in an application is also beneficial to the school environment as a whole. If a certain percentage of the school qualifies for free lunch, the federal government provides funding for things like high level of instruction, professional development for staff, and even emergency supplies for students in temporary housing. As of their last collection, 2,748 Hillcrest students have handed in completed applications, with 518 missing applications remaining.
Ms Ziozis, the Assistant Principal of Organization, as well as Ms. Prasinos, push for students to continue to handing in their lunch forms. Although these current numbers are promising, it is important to still attempt to achieve the remainder and always strive for better.