Free & Reduced Application Information


Direct Certification is the matching of our student data with the Food Stamp office data and automatically qualifying those students for free school meals.  Once Direct Certification is done, a letter will be sent home to those who qualify, explaining the meal benefits for the entire school year.

Important to note, that even if your students qualify through Direct Certification, families should fill out the Free & Reduced application so the school’s food service system can connect each family member.  Sometimes incoming Kindergartners will get left off.

When should you apply?

  • Applications received prior to July 1 will not be effective for the 2022-2023 school year.
  • GCS strongly encourages parents to apply from July 1 through mid-October.  Applications received after October will be processed and applied to student accounts, however, GCS will not receive reimbursement from the state for those students’ Free & Reduced fees on food service or Curricular Material Fees.
  • Households are encouraged to apply before the start of the school year to avoid unpaid meal charges. Students who are not approved for free or reduced-price meal benefits before the start of the school year will be classified as paid status and meal charges may begin to accumulate starting the first day of school. Meal charges accrued before the approval of a meal benefit application will be the responsibility of the household.

Who Doesn’t need to complete a Free & Reduced Application?

  • You do NOT need to complete an application if you know your household does not qualify for meal benefits. (Please have money in your child’s account on the first day of school.) Online payments for student lunch money can be made at and even through the App!

Myth Busting:

  • If I fill out a paper application, my information will not be online. FALSE! When we receive your paper application, it gets manually entered into our software system that is web-based. Also, by submitting your application online, it’s CONVENIENT, SECURE, and WORRY-FREE! Not to mention, it saves our school money and decreases the amount of stored personally identifiable information (PII).
  • The online application is only available in English. FALSE! It’s also available in Spanish and five other languages at


All students who do not qualify for Direct Certification, should fill out a Free & Reduced Application either online or by using a printed form that can be turned in to any school or to the Administration Offices.

Printable Application Link – click here if the links below do not show