What is Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)?

Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, is a new universal meal service option included in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. CEP was created through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and allows qualifying local educational agencies and schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students without requiring families to complete an annual free and reduced-price meal application. However, a simple district form will still be requested on an annual basis for funding purposes. The provision is good for four years at all participating schools. 

CEP is a powerful tool to both improve child nutrition and reduce administrative burdens at the district and school levels. Students that have access to better nutrition tend to perform better academically, have better health, and maintain better school attendance.

Which schools are included under CEP?

Adams Elementary, A.L.B.A Community Day School, Audubon K-8, Baker Elementary, Balboa Elementary, Bandini Elementary, Bayview CDC, Birney Elementary, Boone Elementary, Brooklyn CDC, Burbank Elementary, Cadman Elementary, Carson Elementary, Carver Elementary, Central Elementary, Chavez Elementary, Cherokee Point Elementary, Chollas/Mead Elementary, Clark Middle, Clay Elementary, Col. Salomon CDC, CPMA Middle, Crawford High, East Village High, Edison Elementary, Emerson/Bandini Elementary, Encanto Elementary, Euclid CDC, Euclid Elementary, Fay Elementary, Field Elementary, Fletcher CDC, Fletcher Elementary, Florence Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Freese Elementary, Fulton K-8, Garfield CDC, Garfield Elementary, Garfield High, Golden Hill K-8, Hamilton Elementary, Hoover High, Horton Elementary, Ibarra Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Johnson Elementary,  Joyner Elementary, Kearny High, Kennedy CDC, Kimbrough Elementary, Knox Middle, Lafayette Elementary, Lincoln High, Linda Vista Elementary, Lindbergh/Schweitzer Elementary, Logan Elementary, Madison High, Mann Middle, Marcy Street Annex, Marshall Elementary, Memorial Prep Middle, Millenial Tech Middle, Montezuma CDC, Montgomery Middle, Normal Heights Elementary, Oak Park Elementary, Ocean Beach Elementary, Pacific View Leadership Elementary, Paradise Hills Elementary, Penn Elementary, Perkins K-8, Porter North/South Elementary, Riley/New Dawn, Rosa Parks Elementary, Ross Elementary, Rodriguez Elementary, Rolando Park Elementary, Rowan Elementary, San Diego High Education Complex, Sherman Elementary, Toler Elementary, Trace High, Twain High, Valencia Park Elementary, Walker CDC, Walker Elementary, Washington Elementary, Webster Elementary, Wegeforth CDC, Wegeforth Elementary, Wilson Middle, Zamorano Elementary

Who benefits from CEP, and what are those benefits?


Students gain access to free meals, and with all students being able to eat at no cost there is no stigma attached to eating school breakfast and lunch. Also, since school food professionals no longer need to track free, reduced price or paid meals, the meal service process will be streamlined – meaning students will spend less time in cashier lines and more time eating nutritious meals so that they are fueled and ready to learn.

Parents no longer have to worry about household applications or lunch accounts, meaning less paperwork. Parents can also avoid the morning rush to make breakfast at home or pack a lunch since they know their students have access to nutritious meals at school.

Administrators have less paperwork, reducing administrative costs and opening up more time to focus on feeding students.  Offering meals at no charge to all students means that schools no longer have to go about collecting unpaid meal fees from families. Removing this dynamic between families and schools allows school nutrition staff to focus on preparing and serving healthy meals to children and eliminates a significant financial burden for school districts and families.

Will students still have to enter PIN numbers to receive breakfast and lunch?

Elementary Schools
No, students at elementary schools will no longer have to enter PIN numbers to receive their breakfast or lunch. This will help in streamlining the meal service allowing students to have more time to enjoy their nutritious meals.

Middle and High Schools
Yes, middle and high school students will still have to either enter their PIN number to receive meals. Some sites have activated the barcodes on their student ID cards so that students simply have to swipe their card instead of having to remember their PIN number.  Check with your school administration to see if your student’s ID cards have this capability. The reason we still require middle and high school students to use their PIN numbers or ID cards is to ensure that each student only receives one reimbursable breakfast and one reimbursable lunch in a day.

What happens to the money I have already loaded on my student’s meal account?

Elementary Schools
Any remaining balance on your PayPams or student meal account will remain. If you would like to have the monies refunded to you, please download and complete the refund/transfer form, and fax or mail to Food and Nutrition Services. If you need assistance with this information please call 858-627-7328.

Middle and High Schools
Any remaining balance on your PayPams or student meal account will remain. Your student may use those funds to purchase a la carte snack items. If you would like to have the funds reimbursed instead, please download and complete the refund/transfer form, and fax or mail to Food and Nutrition Services. If you need assistance with this information please call 858-627-7328.

Why should my student eat breakfast and lunch at their school café?

The Kid’s Choice Café at elementary schools and SanDi Coast Café at middle and high schools across the district provide students with a wide variety of fresh, healthy meal options.  The Food & Nutrition Services team works hard to develop menus that are nutritionally sound and meet strict federal nutrition guidelines, but that are also appetizing to students and customized to match the taste preferences of our diverse student population.

We have great programs, such as Farm to School and California Thursdays, which aim to bring students fresh, local, high quality produce and meal components. Download our YumYummi mobile menu app on your Apple or Android device, or view the menu online, for a complete listing of the items available to your student including allergen and nutrition information.

What’s the difference between CEP and Provision 2?

CEP and Provision 2 are similar in the sense that they both allow all students at eligible schools to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost. In short, as far as parents and students are concerned, there is no difference between a CEP school and Provision 2 school. The differences between the two provisions come in the back end in operating procedures for meal eligibility and claiming.