Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
What does this measure?
The number of students eligible for free or reduced price school lunches as a percentage of all students in full day prekindergarten through 12th grade. Students are eligible for free lunch if their family's income is at or below 130% of the national poverty level.
Why is this important?
This measure not only shows the proportion of low-income students and families in an area, but is also an indication of the potential challenges facing schools as they work to educate children who have fewer resources.
How is the region performing?
In 2014, 37% of students in the region were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, below the statewide (excluding NYC) rate of 38% and substantially below the 2014 national rate of 50%. From 2005 through 2014, the regional rate increased 11 points, compared to 9 points statewide and 13 points nationally (through 2013). The highest rate of eligibility among counties in the region was in Orange, at 40%, followed by Ulster at 39% and Dutchess at 30%. Among local municipalities, rates were highest in the City of Poughkeepsie (94%), Kiryas Joel (80%), Middletown (75%), and Newburgh (67%).
Notes about the data
Not all students who are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch participate in the program.