Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
Food and Nutrition Programs

Special Milk Program

What Is the Special Milk Program?

The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools and childcare institutions that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal service programs. The program reimburses schools for the milk they serve.

Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in the SMP to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs.

Begun in 1955, the Special Milk Program is administered at the Federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Food and Nutrition Service, formerly the Food and Consumer Service.

Who May Participate?

Any child at a participating school or kindergarten program can get milk through the SMP. Children may buy milk or receive it free, depending on the school's choice of program options.

Who Is Eligible for Free Milk?

When local school officials offer free milk under the program, any child from a family that meets income guidelines for free meals and milk is eligible. Each child's family must apply annually for free milk eligibility.

How Does the SMP Operate?

Participating schools and institutions receive reimbursement from USDA for each half-pint of milk served. They must operate their milk programs on a non-profit basis. They agree to use the Federal reimbursement to reduce the selling price of milk to all children.

What Is the Federal Reimbursement?

The Federal reimbursement for each half-pint of milk sold to children in school year 2022-2023 is 27.00 cents. For children who receive their milk free, the USDA reimburses schools the net purchase price of the milk.

For More Information:

In Massachusetts, please contact or 781-338-6461.

Last Updated: August 25, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.