News From Our Blog

Child Nutrition Programs for the New School Year

Healthy eating habits and a nutritious diet can help children do better in school.

The federal government provides free or low-cost Child Nutrition Programs in more than 100,000 public schools, nonprofit private schools, kindergartens and preschools.

These programs, provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, are aimed at school-aged children from low-income families.

1. National School Breakfast and Lunch Program

Through this program children may receive breakfast and lunch for free or at a reduced cost. The price you pay for meals depends on which state you live in and your income level.

If your children attend a school that’s enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, they are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch daily throughout the academic year.

Note: Some schools also provide free snacks to children who attend certain after-school programs.

Program features

  • It’s available for children and students under 18.
  • It’s offered throughout the school year at public schools, nonprofit private schools, and preschools.
  • The breakfast and lunch menu is the same for every student.
  • Everyone receives equal portions that meet USDA nutritional requirements.

How to enroll

Contact or visit your child’s school to find about the program requirements and application process. Enrollment procedures may vary depending on the school.

2. Special Milk Program

Milk is provided free or at a reduced cost to children who are not already enrolled in any other USDA program. The price of milk depends on which state you live in and your income level.

Program features

  • Milk is available throughout the year at schools, nurseries, half-day pre-kindergartens and kindergartens.
  • The milk contains vitamins A and D, is low in fat and meets the standards of the USDA.
  • Every student receives the same kind of milk and quantity, one cup or ¼-liter.

How to enroll

To participate in the Special Milk Program, contact or visit your child’s school and ask about the program requirements and application process.

Contact your USDA state agency for more information about child nutrition programs.

Read this note in Spanish.

Expand your world by sharing your home with an international student. Learn more about hosting programs.

Stay Healthy at College

College students spend a lot of time worrying about their studies that sometimes they can forget the importance of taking care of their health. While college life involves new challenges, responsibilities and excitement, it can also be a stressful time. Students often deal with the social pressures of drinking, drugs and sexual activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following tips for staying healthy and safe while in college:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain your health with checkups and vaccinations
  • If you decide to have sex, practice safe sex
  • Make smart choices about alcohol and drugs
  • Get help if you are stressed or depressed

Physical stress from sleep deprivation, making poor eating decisions, substance abuse and more can lead to stress in relationships, classes and overall well being. Knowing who and where to look for help when feeling overwhelmed is one of the first steps to taking control. The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health is offering free publications for college students on topics ranging from sunscreens and tanning, sexual health, depression and much more.

View and order free publications on college students’ health.

Image description: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education developed this Financial Aid Shopping Sheet to clearly and simply explain to students how much their college education will cost.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to college and university presidents asking them to adopt it as part of their financial aid awards for the 2013-14 school year.

Image description: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education developed this Financial Aid Shopping Sheet to clearly and simply explain to students how much their college education will cost.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to college and university presidents asking them to adopt it as part of their financial aid awards for the 2013-14 school year.

Youth Exchange Scholarships for High School Students

The U.S. Department of State offers a number of exchange programs and scholarships for American high school students to study abroad.

If you’re interested in studying abroad, one of these programs could help cover expenses for your trip:

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth offers merit-based scholarships for overseas study of these foreign languages:  Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), Russian and Turkish.  

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad Program offers scholarships to spend a semester or an academic year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Oman, Thailand, and Turkey.  

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program offers students a fully-funded year abroad in Germany. 

The American Youth Leadership Program offers opportunities for students and educators to travel abroad on a three- to four-week-long exchange program.

Learn more about these student exchange programs.