Last month the Trump Administration published a new rule on something called Public Charge. It creates new barriers for immigrants to achieve permanent status in the U.S. with either a green card or citizenship. In effect, the rule states that any non-citizen who might receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, or Medicaid may not be admitted to the country or be granted legal status. The determination of an immigrant’s likelihood of requiring assistance in the future is a subjective one, but individuals and families that are not wealthy or secure in their employment on arrival will certainly be at risk.
As food costs continue to climb and many families struggle to make ends meet, school districts across the country continue to see a rise in unpaid meal charges. In SNA's State of School Nutrition 2014 survey, nearly 71% of schools reported that their meal program had unpaid student meal debt at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
To CEP, or not to CEP?
That is the question. Whether ‘tis easier to suffer the pains of paper application processing, or to take Community Eligibility against a sea of applications.
CEP is more than just another USDA delivered acronym. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows school districts with high poverty rates to easily serve free meals to eligible students. Both breakfast and lunch can be served to all students by removing the need for schools to distribute, collect, and process paper applications.