Applications for Free/Reduced School Meals in SC Returns

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Applications for Free/Reduced School Meals in SC Returns

SC Parents, some for the first time ever, will have to submit a free/reduced school lunch meal application for the 2022-2023 school year. Pandemic protections over the past two school years had enabled children to receive free school meals without the need for applications. Those protections have expired, meaning a return to many pre-pandemic policies.


  • While the application is available online for many school districts at the district or school website, some districts may only have the application available by paper. If you are unable to find the application online, please contact your school district for details.
  • Families should complete and submit a school meal application, even if they are unsure whether they could qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. 
  • School meal applications will request household income information including wages, retirement income, or spousal support. Be prepared to include this information in your application.
  • There is a grace period after the school year starts, which is intended to provide families with a little extra time to complete these applications. Even so, we recommend families complete meal applications as quickly as possible to avoid missing the window, or delays in processing.
  • If your family currently receives benefits through Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF, you may qualify for school meals without needing to file an application. We recommend checking with your school district to confirm that they have your information updated in the system and make sure no application is needed.
  • Students who are migrants, homeless (including those who are temporarily staying with other family or friends), foster children, or participating in the Head Start program may be categorically eligible for free school meals. These students should still complete a school meal application, but include this information in their application. 

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