School and Community Nutrition

Special Milk Program

Published: 6/27/2018 8:25 AM

What is the Special Milk Program?

The Special Milk Program provides milk to children in schools, child care institutions and eligible camps that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal services programs.  The program reimburses schools and institutions for the milk they serve.  Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in the Special Milk Program to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs.

How does the Special Milk Program work? 

Participating schools and institutions receive reimbursement from the USDA for each half pint of milk served.  They must operate their milk programs on a non-profit basis.  They agree to use the Federal reimbursement to reduce the selling price of milk to all children.
Any child at a participating school or half-day pre-kindergarten program can get milk through the Special Milk Program.  Children may buy milk or receive it free, depending on the school's choice of program options.

How do children qualify for free milk?

When local school officials offer free milk under the program to low-income children and children from a family that meets income guidelines for free meals is eligible.  Each child's family must apply annually for free milk eligibility.

How much reimbursement do schools get?

The Federal reimbursement for each half-pint of milk sold to children in School Year 2014-2015 is .23 cents.  For students who receive their milk for free, the USDA reimburses schools the net purchase prince of the milk.  For the latest reimbursement rates, visit the FNS website:

How to find out more?

To find out more regarding the Special Milk Program, please contact an SCN consultant.

​​USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

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Division of School and Community Nutrition
2 Hudson Hollow Rd., Suite B
Frankfort, KY 40601-4311
(502) 564-5625
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