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Meal Prices and Payment

Meal Prices and Payment

Student Meal Prices School Year 2024-2025

Breakfast and the afterschool snack and supper programs (where applicable) are universally free for DCPS students. DCPS students who are approved for free or reduced meals, or who attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school will receive lunch at no charge.


The grace period for students who qualified for free lunch during school year 2023-2024 will end on the following dates:

  • Grades Kindergarten - 12th: October 7th, 2024
  • Grades PK3-PK4: October 10th, 2024

Meal charges for students who have not submitted a FARM application for SY24-25 will resume after those dates.

Details on qualifying for free lunch based on household income can be found here:


2024-2025 Student Meal Prices 

Non-CEP schools

CEP schools

  Paid Meal Price Status Free/CEP Meal Price Status Reduced Meal Price Status
Breakfast Free Free Free
Lunch $3.00 Free Free
Snack (where applicable) Free Free Free
Supper (where applicable) Free Free Free
Milk $0.35 Free Free


Student Meal Payment

Student meal accounts function as debit accounts. When a student goes through the lunch line to receive a meal at non-CEP schools, they give the cafeteria manager their name or student ID number. The cost of the meal is deducted from their student meal account (no charge at CEP schools). 

If there are insufficient funds in the student's meal account, the student still receives a meal, and the student meal account will reflect a negative balance with the associated cost. Note that parents and guardians are still responsible for satisfying all meal costs due by the end of each school year. 

NEW in SY 23-24: 

Starting October 10, 2023, the meal payments portal, MySchoolBucks, was replaced by a new meal payment solution LINQ Connect. This change will enhance our current process by streamlining and making it more efficient for school communities.

Existing MySchoolBucks users and staff/adult meal account holders must register for a LINQ Connect account . It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Register: Create an account at and select register.  

  1. Verify Account: Verify account by clicking on the email verification link sent to the provided email address. 

  1. Sign In: Now you can sign in at using your email and password.  

Please note that all student and identifiable staff meal account balances automatically rolled-over to LINQConnect on October 6th, 2023. Learn more about this shift and how it impacts you in this quick Q & A document

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected] or give us a call at (202) 299-2159. 


You can add funds to your students' meal account in two ways:

  1. Pay with a credit or debit card by creating an account at; an online prepayment service used by DCPS FNS.
    • Setup SMART PAY to automatically add money to your student's account whenever it reaches a low balance
    • Receive low balance notifications to remind you when funds are low
    • Say goodbye to service charges! Load money onto your students’ meal account at no cost to you. 
  2. Send a check or money order made payable to the DC Treasurer to the following address:*


DCPS Food and Nutrition Services

ATTN: Nadine James, Meal Accounts

1200 First Street, NE, 9th Floor

Washington, DC 20002


*The student ID# MUST be included on the check!


LINQ Connect FAQs

LINQ Connect Preguntas frecuentes


Negative Meal Balance Notification

If a student's balance goes below zero, the student's parent/guardian will receive communication with the amount due on the meal account balance and instructions to add funds to their student's account. Routinely throughout the school year, parents/guardians of students with negative meal balances will receive courtesy communications through email and text regarding meal balances.

There is no limit to the negative balance a student can accrue. There are no alternative meals served to a student with a negative balance. Students will continue to accrue a greater negative balance until additional funds are put onto their account. When funds are put onto a student's account, it will first pay off the negative balance. If a student's negative balance is not paid at the end of the school year, it will roll over into the next school year.


Request a Refund from a Student Meal Account

NOTICE 11/28/2023

Due to changes in the District's financial systems, FNS continues to experience significant delays in issuing refunds. Updates will be posted on this page as they become available.  Thank you for your understanding.

If you would like to request a refund of the money in your student's meal account, please complete this refund request form. If you would like to request a transfer of funds between your students' accounts please email [email protected] or call us at 202-299-2159. 


Deactivate Student Meal Account

By deactivating a student's meal account, the student will not be able to receive a meal or milk during lunch. They will still be able to receive free breakfast and afterschool snack or supper. This ensures that there will be no meal or milk lunch charges to a student's account.

Deactivate Student Lunch Account