Free and Reduced FAQ


Free and Reduced FAQs 




Children need healthy meals to learn. Rutherford County Schools offer healthy meals every school day. Breakfast costs $2.00; lunch costs $3.25 for elementary and $3.50 for middle/high. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch.


1. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT AN APPLICATION FOR EACH CHILD? No.  Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to: Robyn Barrett, Rutherford County Schools, 2240 Southpark Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN 37128 (615) 893-5815 ext 22014.


2. Who can get free or reduced meals?

·   All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Families First/TANF are eligible for free meals.

·   Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.

·   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.

·   Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.


3. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS HOMELESS, MIGRANT OR RUNAWAY? Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact your child(ren) school ATLAS Liaison.


4. SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS?  Please read the letter you received carefully and follow the instructions.  Call your child’s cafeteria manager if you have questions.


5. CAN I APPLY ONLINE? Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit to begin or to learn more about the online application process. Contact Robyn Barrett at (615)893-5815 ext 22014 or [email protected] if you have any questions.


6. MY CHILD’S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR.  DO I NEED TO FILL OUT ANOTHER ONE?  Yes.  Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year.  You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. 


7. I RECEIVE WIC.  CAN MY CHILD(REN) GET FREE MEALS?  Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.  Please fill out an application.


8.   Will the information I give be checked? Yes and we may also ask you to send written proof.


9.   If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?  Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year.  For example, children living with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.


10.   What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?  You should talk to your school cafeteria manager. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: Andrea Congleton, Rutherford County Schools, 2240 Southpark Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN  37128 (615) 893-5815 ext 22884.


11.   MAY I APPLY IF SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD IS NOT A U.S. CITIZEN? Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals.


12.   What if my income is not always the same?  List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month.  If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes.  If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.


13.   WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO INCOME TO REPORT? Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeros. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.


14. We are in the military. DO WE REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY?  Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, or receive Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments, 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. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.


15. WHAT IF THERE ISN’T ENOUGH SPACE ON THE APPLICATION FOR MY FAMILY? List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper, and attach it to your application. Contact your school cafeteria manager to receive a second application.


16. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for SNAP on-line or to find a local assistance office, visit: or call 1-866-311-4287.

17.  What If i have questions about P-EBT?  For questions, you may call the P-EBT Hotline 833-496-0661



If you have other questions or need help, email [email protected] or call(615) 893-5815 ext 22014