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School Lunch Debt Statistics


Report Highlights. The national public school meal debt is $262 million a year.

  • 30.4 million students can’t afford their school meals.
  • The average meal debt per child is $180.6, yearly.
  • 68.8% of surveyed schools had unpaid student meal debt.
  • 96% of surveyed school districts reported an annual increase in the number of students who couldn’t afford meals.


Source: Education Data Initiative (2024). School Lunch Debt Statistics.