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Thank you for your interest in becoming a sponsor or in expanding your participation in the School Nutrition Programs (SNP)! SNP includes the following meal or milk programs:

 Eligibility Criteria

​Eligibility criteria for the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) varies based on organization type. Please review the chart below to determine if your organization may apply. Please note, all organizations must be in "Good Standing" with Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) requirements and have a UEI number. Questions related to eligibility can be submitted to

Type of Organization Eligibility Information
Public Schools
  • Eligible for SNP
Public Charter Schools
  • Certification of Charter must be current
  • All Charter campuses that participate in the SNP must be under the same sponsor
Non-Public Schools
  • Must be currently registered with ISBE
  • Must be currently federally tax exempt with a federal 501(c)(3) letter
Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCI)
  • Must have a current residential license
  • Enrollment limited to license capacity
RCCI with School
  • Must have a current residential license
  • School must be public or meet the requirements for non-public schools above
  • Can only participate in the Special Milk Program
Non-School Enrichment Program
  • Can only participate in the After School Snack Program

 Application Process

Organizations interested in becoming a sponsor in the School Nutrition Programs must successfully complete the application process as outlined in the Application Overview & ChecklistPDF Document. Organizations can join the School Nutrition Programs at any time. On average, the application process takes 60-90 days to complete. Please note, a start date is dependent upon successful completion of the application process and cannot be guaranteed. Questions can be submitted to​

 Required Forms

Please submit required forms to

 Meal Service Types

The following are general descriptions of the types of meal service options.

  • Self-Operated: The School Food Authority employed staff are responsible for managing all aspects of the school food service program including, but not limited to, ordering, preparing, and serving meals.
  • Food Service Management Company (FSMC): The FSMC manages some aspects of the school food service program. Generally, the FSMC conducts product ordering, prepares and serves the meals, and/or manages the school meal program(s).
  • Vended Contract: The Vendor provides the meals only (generally pre-packaged/pre-plated) and does not manage any aspect of the school food service. However, if the Vendor's employees are responsible for the management of the program and/or for the final preparation and/or serving of pre-packaged/pre-plated school meals, the contract becomes a FSMC contract and is no longer considered a vended meals contract.
  • School-to-School Agreement: The School Food Authority contracts with another School Food Authority to provide meals. 

Applicants who plan to contract for meal service through a FSMC, Vended Contract, or School-to-School Agreement should contact ISBE's Nutrition Department procurement staff at to begin the process as soon as possible. School Food Authorities (SFA) who contract for meal service must still maintain responsibility for the overall operation of the meal program. New applicants should review the SFA Responsibilities When Contracting for Meals and/or ServicesPDF Document​.

 Food Service Director Information

All School Nutrition Program sponsors must have a designated Food Service Director who is responsible for administration and oversight of the meal program. The SFA must have a dedicated Food Service Director who is employed by the SFA. Please note, this applies to both self-operated sponsors and sponsors who contract for their meal service. USDA has established minimum hiring standardsPDF Document  for new directors hired after July 1, 2015, which are based on student enrollment levels. The Food Service Director is required to meet USDA Professional Standards. Food Service Directors must obtain at least 12 hours of job-related training annually. New directors must additionally complete 8 hours of food safety training either within 5 years prior or within 30 days of hire. Other School Nutrition Program staff members must also meet a minimum number of training hours each year. Please review ISBE's Professional Standards Fact SheetPDF Document and USDA's Guide to Professional StandardsPDF Document for more information.

 Required Training

Sponsors in the School Nutrition Programs must comply with federal and state regulations. The resources below are required to be reviewed as part of the application process. Organizations applying for the Special Milk Program or Afterschool Snacks only should communicate with an ISBE staff person on which resources apply.

 Optional Training

Please visit the following links for additional training topics on the School Nutrition Programs.

 Menu Certification Process

Meals served in the School Nutrition Programs must meet USDA meal pattern requirements, which include five components: whole grains, meat/meat alternates, fruit, vegetables, and milk. The meal pattern also includes daily and weekly requirements for serving sizes in addition to calorie, sodium, and saturated fat limits. Applicants must complete the menu certification process, which requires one week of menus and nutrient analysis. Information on this process can be found via the link below.

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