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Eligible students will now be automatically enrolled in reduced-price meal programs

Graphic: Montana news from Montana Public Radio

Montana public school students whose families receive Medicaid benefits will be automatically enrolled in free and reduced-price meal programs during the next school year.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen says the state is one of 15 to be selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in the trial program. It will use Medicaid eligibility data as a way to certify students from low-income families for free and reduced-price meals beginning during the 2023-2024 school year.

Arntzen said in a statement the new program will streamline the enrollment process and allow schools to spend less time reviewing applications.

The state Office of Public Instruction says nearly 40% of public school students qualify for free and reduced-price meals this year.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
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