California is a universal meals state! What does that mean for you, the leaders of school nutrition in your district? For universal meals to be financially possible in California, federal provisions like the Community Eligibility Provision are key! In fact, the California Department of Education has announced that all schools and/or districts that have a minimum ISP of 40% or more must apply for a federal provision by June 30, 2022.  

Community Eligibility Provision 101: The Basics

What is CEP? This section covers the basics, including eligibility requirements and the federal reimbursement structure.


Making the Case for CEP to School Stakeholders

Prepare for conversations with administration about how CEP can support your students and your district.

Additional Reading

For more information and resources on school stakeholder engagement, visit our Center for Best Practices.

CEP Assessment Tools

From maximizing ISPs to business savvy strategies to increase revenue. We have several tools for you!

Meals Count is a free tool to help school districts optimize their Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) applications, maximize school meal funding, and fight childhood hunger.


We encourage you to always visit the California’s Department of Education and USDA websites for up-to-date information, deadlines, and waiver information.


If you are a program operator at a school district or community organization, we offer resources and technical assistance. Please contact us at

Last Reviewed: January 12, 2022