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Student Nutrition Services

Student Nutrition Services

School Meal Benefits

Children need healthy meals to learn! Hillsborough County Student Nutrition Services offers healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch to all students through the National School Lunch and Breakfast program. These programs also allow us to offer free meal benefits to students that qualify through an application process.

Below are some commonly asked questions with answers to help you with the application process.

  • All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP (food stamps) or TANF, are eligible for free meals, regardless of your income. Households receiving SNAP or TANF benefits may exclude income information and the last four digits of the signer’s social security number on their application. However, if you received a NOTICE OF DIRECT CERTIFICATION for free meals, DO NOT complete an application. Please read the entire notice and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals. Foster children may be included as part of a household application, and are eligible for free meals, even if the household does not qualify.
  • Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
  • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant, are eligible for free meals. See #6 for more information.
  • Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on the chart below:

Yes! Applying online is quick, confidential, and easy! Paper applications will not be sent out to all households this school year. Instead, you are encouraged to complete an online application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask for the same information as the paper application. To apply online, visit the district website at, type “Go SNS” in the search bar, click on the big green application button, and follow the instructions. Contact the Healthy Meals Application Center at 813-840-7066 if you have any questions about the online application process.

Computers are available for use at no cost at the local public library and at the Healthy Meals Application Center, 9014 Brittany Way, Tampa, Florida, 33619. Your child’s school may also have a computer that can be used to complete an application. Need information where to obtain a paper application? Contact the Healthy Meals Application Center at 813-840-7066.

No. Use one application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an incomplete application, so be sure to complete all required information. The adult signing the application must include the last 4 digits of their social security number.

Yes. Your child’s application is only good for one school year. A new application is required every school year to validate your child’s eligibility. If your child received free or reduced meals for the 2015 2016 school year, they will receive free or reduced meals for up to the first 30 operating days of the 2016 2017 school year. If the new application is approved, your child’s status will remain in effect for the entire school year.

Are your housing arrangements temporary? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Have you taken in a runaway child? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions, please contact the liaison at the child’s school for assistance.

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. You must submit an application to verify eligibility.

Yes, and we may also ask you to send written proof.

Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year if there is a change in your household income or size, or if you become unemployed.

Contact the Healthy Meals Application Center at 813-840-7066. You may also ask for a hearing by writing to: General Manager of Student Nutrition Services, 9014 Brittany Way, Tampa, Florida 33619.

List the amount that you normally receive. If you receive overtime most pay periods, include it, but do not include it if you only receive overtime occasionally or seasonally (i.e. a short, busy period or holiday season). If you have lost a job, or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

If there is no income to report, mark the box that says “None” for each household member. If you enter ‘0’ or leave any fields blank, you are certifying (promising) that there is no income to report.

If you receive an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. If combat pay is received in addition to basic pay because of deployment, and wasn’t received before deployment, it is not included as income.

If you have more than six (6) students or more than eight (8) people in your household, contact the Healthy Meals Application Center at 813-840-7066 for instructions.

If you have other questions or need help completing your household application for school meal benefits, contact the Healthy Meals Application Center at (813) 840-7066.

USDA nondiscrimination statement: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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