Fast Fact – Sept. 30, 2022

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: September 30, 2022

In the 2021-2022 school year, 37% of Colorado’s public PK-12 students (329,600 kids) qualified for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL). Students who qualify for FRL are in families with incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level. Despite the increased economic struggles families faced related to COVID-19, fall 2021 data showed fewer students identified as eligible for FRL for the second year in a row. The significant drop is unlikely to reflect increased economic security among Colorado students and their families. Rather, it is likely a reflection of several other factors, including lower enrollment overall, a shift in federal policy to provide universal school meals temporarily to all children, difficulty collecting paper FRL forms from families in remote learning environments, and other longstanding shortcomings of the existing method for measuring student poverty. To learn more about shifting enrollment figures for FRL eligible students, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center. 


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The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit