Applications Lagging for Textbook Rental Financial Assistance - October 22, 2014
With all Fort Wayne Community Schools students in elementary and middle school now receiving meals at no cost, applications are lagging for financial assistance for textbooks rental fees.
So far this year, only 60 percent of FWCS families have applied and qualified for textbook rental financial assistance. That is down from 70.5 percent at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
“We believe the decline has come because families with young students automatically receive meals at no cost every day and may not see a need to fill out the free/reduced-price meal application,” said Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend. “But, if families who qualify don’t fill out the application, they will not be eligible for textbook assistance as they have in the past.”
The new meal benefit for elementary and middle school students is available to families as part of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the National School Lunch Program. FWCS is eligible to participate because more than 40 percent of students are directly certified by the state for benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Because high school participation in the school lunch program is lower than in elementary and middle schools, it is not currently financially feasible to offer meals at no cost to high school students. Families of high school students must still fill out the meal application to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Statements went out this month to families notifying them textbook rental fees are due within 30 days of receiving the invoice. The notifications include information on how to apply for textbook assistance online at www.schoollunchapp.com. Paper applications are also available at Student Services, 1200 S. Clinton St., or Nutrition Services, 3811 W. Ludwig Road.
“Now that families have received their textbook rental fee statements, we hope they will get online and apply for assistance,” Friend said. “We know many of our families rely on this benefit, and we want to make sure they receive it, if they are eligible.”