(CNSNews.com) – Of the 5,052,222,946 school lunches served in Fiscal Year 2016, 73.3 percent of them — the highest percentage on record — were either free or reduced price meals, according to data posted on September 8, 2017 by the Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Free lunches comprised two-thirds (66.6 percent) of all lunches served in that school year; and reduced-price lunches comprised 6.7 percent. Students paid full price for the remaining 26.7 percent in Fiscal 2016, the latest year for which data is available.
(FY 2016 covers the 12-month period beginning in Oct. 2015 and running through Sept. 2016. It roughly coincides with the 2015-2016 school year.)
The percentage of free or reduced price meals served in public and non-profit private schools has steadily risen in each of the last nine years, from 59.3 percent in Fiscal Year 2007, to 73.3 percent in FY 2016, according to data compiled by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals.
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