Information and Application for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs)
HCPSS participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which provide families with significant benefits to help save money. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential. All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free meals regardless of income, and students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Free and Reduced Meals eligibility provides discounts for summer programs, SAT, recreation programs, Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and internet programs. Other discounts are listed below. FARMs eligibility also may provide your school with much needed Federal funding.
How to Apply
Please submit only one application per household. Families that need computer or language assistance to apply online, please contact your child’s school.
Online Applications for the 2023-2024 School Year are available on the new LINQ Connect website.
After the online application has been submitted and reviewed, eligibility notifications will be sent via email/mail.
Paper applications are available at school front offices. Completed applications may be mailed to the Food and Nutrition Service Office:
HCPSS Food & Nutrition Service Office
10910 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Please submit only one application per household.
Parents/guardians will receive a notification of eligibility once the application has been processed. Families are responsible for any meal charges incurred prior to qualifying. Questions may be emailed to email@example.com.
Families must submit a new application every school year
During the first 30 school days, students with free and reduced-price meal eligibility from the prior school year will be carried over.
Any student who has not filled out an application up to the 30th school day will have their prior year status changed to full pay status until a new application is received. Parents / guardians are highly encouraged to fill out the applications as soon as possible. Also, it is very important that applications are filled out correctly.
Did you get a direct certification letter?
Based on monthly information from the Department of Social Services, some students are directly certified to receive free breakfast and lunch meals without submitting a Free and Reduced Meals application.
If families receive a direct certification letter in the mail/email, families do not have to fill out a free and reduced-price meal form for the school year.
All other students who did not receive a Direct Certification letter must fill out a new form.
Participation in the Free and Reduced-Price Meal program qualifies students for the following opportunities:
- Access to HCPSS Pre-K program.
- Free registration fees for SAT and SAT I subject tests
- Free registration for ACT tests
- Reduced AP exam registration fees.
- Up to four free college applications
- Reduced tuition for HCPSS Summer Programs (High School, G/T Summer Institute, CTE, Summer Institute)
- Reduced tuition for HCPSS Innovative Pathways Program which offers an evening and summer program
- Free or reduced JumpStart tuition offered through our dual enrollment partnership with Howard Community College
- Free access to participate in the Outdoor Education Program for 6th graders. Contact the sixth-grade team leader at your child’s school for more information.
- Free registration for the NCAA Clearinghouse for DI or DII athletics
- Discounted internet through Comcast Internet Essentials program
Students may be eligible for these additional opportunities:
- Reduced health insurance coverage through Maryland Children’s Health Programs
- Reduced Columbia Association (CA) membership fees and access to the CA Youth and Teen Center
- Tuition-based scholarship at Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts
- Reduced Howard County Rec and Park Program fees (applies to before- and after-care; after-school clubs; sports leagues)
- Reduced YMCA fees (applies to before- and-after- school enrichment; preschool; summer camp)
- Free Head Start classes or Pre-K through the Community Action Council (CAC) of Howard County
- Access to the Judy Center which serves families with young children (birth through 5) who live in the Cradlerock Elementary School attendance area, have children who attend Head Start or who have 4-year-old children attending HCPSS Pre-K and/or Regional Early Childhood Center program.
- Access to Child Care Subsidy program through the Maryland State Department of Education
- Access to Bridges to Housing Stability
- Access to CAC Housing Assistance and CAC Energy Assistance
- Disability resources, food supplement applications, and medical assistance applications through the Maryland Department of Human Resources
Reach out to the PPW office to inquire about the following resources:
- Help-A-Child vouchers through the Howard County Education Association
- Prepare for Success – School Supplies for Students
- Bright Minds Foundation and Lazarus Foundation gift a certain number of computers to students each year, so your child may be eligible.
Beneficios Gratis y con Descuento para Familias del HCPSS que Califiquen
El programa de FARMs (Comidas Gratis y a Precio Reducido) proporciona beneficios significativos a familias para ayudarles a ahorrar dinero. Las calificaciones son en base al tamaño de la familia y al ingreso y la inscripción es confidencial.
Gratis o [a Precio] Reducido:
- Desayuno y almuerzo
- Matrícula en Howard Community College
- Exámenes SAT, ACT y AP (de asignación avanzada)
- Campamentos, deportes y cuidado infantil
- ¡Y mucho más!
FARMs 项目为家庭提供极大福利，帮助您节省金钱。 家庭是否合格乃视家庭人数和收入决定，而且申请绝对保密。
자격 요건이 되는 HCPSS 가족들이 받을 수 있는 무료 및 할인 혜택들
FARMs 프로그램은 많은 가족들이 크게 절약할 수 있는 혜택들을 드리고 있습니다. 자격 요건은 가족 구성원 숫자와 소득에 근거하며 등록 정보는 기밀에 붙여집니다.
무료 혹은 할인 혜택:
- 조식과 점심
- 하워드 커뮤니티 칼리지 수업료
- SAT, ACT 그리고 AP 시험 비용
- 캠프, 스포츠 그리고 돌보미 프로그램
- 그 외에도 다양함!
Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024)
Household Size: 1
Household Size: 2
Household Size: 3
Household Size: 4
Household Size: 5
Household Size: 6
Household Size: 7
Household Size: 8
*For each additional family member add: