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Redefining Low-income Under the Student Opportunity Act (SY 2021-22)

Under the Student Opportunity Act, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required to identify eligible students up to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for the purpose of determining Chapter 70 aid. In response to this requirement, we are augmenting our current matching methodology and providing a supplemental data collection form to give school districts and charter schools the opportunity to claim the relatively small number of students statewide who qualify as low income under the 185% FPL standard but who are not currently being identified through our match with state databases for public assistance programs. Moreover, we will be categorically including homeless students reported by the district as low-income. These changes will be implemented for the 2021-22 school year, such that the Department will designate a student enrolled on October 1st as low income if the student meets one of the following criteria:

  • Identified as participating in state public assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, MassHealth, and foster care; or
  • Certified as low income through the new supplemental data collection process, or
  • Reported by a district as homeless.

Last Updated: November 17, 2021

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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