California is 1st state to offer free universal school meals

California’s Universal Meals Program will provide free breakfast and lunch to all public school students for the 2022-2023 school year.

Video Transcript

- Did you know the US has around $262 million in school lunch debt a year? California actually stands with the most children in that with over 327,000 students. That's why California just became the first state in the US to provide free school meals to all of its students regardless of income level. Although about 60% of California students qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program, there's still a bunch of stigma surrounding it.

Immigrants in particular became fearful of applying during the Trump administration, especially since the forms ask questions about Social Security numbers and immigration status. The program is expected to benefit over 6 million students across the state. And it was made possible thanks to a state budget surplus. After this school year, it will cost California about $650 million a year.