Economically Disadvantaged

Economically Disadvantaged Status

Beginning with the 2021–22 school year, the criteria for identifying Economically Disadvantaged Student (EDS) status was updated by the United States Department of Education. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is defining Economically Disadvantaged status as: Any student identified by a Public School Unit (PSU), meeting the criteria of Directly Certified, Categorically Eligible, or a method consistent with state or federal guidance for financial assistance regardless of participation or eligibility in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Non-Community Eligible Provision (CEP) schools and NSLP participating schools now have the ability to identify a student as Economically Disadvantage who may not be identified as part of the NSLP. PSUs may provide additional eligible students from a collection of information consistent with state or federal guidance for financial assistance. For all schools, a local process may be developed to collect information and identify students meeting the criteria for Economically Disadvantaged status.

  • Directly Certified: Children directly certified are those eligible for free meals through data matching of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) which Includes Extended Eligible students and those found in the Direct Certification system.
  • Categorically Eligible:  Children eligible based on classification as homeless, runaway, migrant, foster, medicaid recipient, or enrolled in Head Start or comparable State-funded Head Start or Pre-kindergarten program.
  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) means that an entire population at a school or PSU is deemed eligible for the NSLP. Eligibility is determined for an entire PSU, a group of schools within an PSU, or a single school within an PSU, whichever is electing Community Eligibility. To be eligible to participate in CEP, the percentage of identified students must be at least 40 percent of enrollment, which is calculated by dividing the number of identified students by the student enrollment as of April 1 of the previous school year.


Economically Disadvantaged data files

Economically Disadvantaged data collection