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Special Milk Program (SMP)


Federal Special Milk Program

The School Nutrition Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to students in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve that do not have access to other Federal child nutrition meal service programs (i.e. National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP)).
School Food Authorities (SFAs) are reimbursed for milk served to students in half-pint increments. There is no federal requirement to offer milk at no charge, rather pricing is based on the option selected by the school. 
SFAs have 3 different pricing options: pricing (with free milk option), pricing (without free milk option), and non-pricing. Information about each pricing option and program requirements can be found below.


Allowable Milk Types
Pasteurized fluid milk meeting state and local standards, having vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is no requirement that a variety of milk be offered. The following milk types per age/grade group are allowable:
  • 1 year old: Unflavored whole milk
  • 2-5 years old (not yet in kindergarten): Unflavored low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk
  • 6 years old and older: Flavored or unflavored fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk

Milk sold to adults, as a la carte, or used in meal prep cannot be claimed for reimbursement.

Calendar of Requirements
Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Compliance Self-Evaluation Form (PI-1456) must be completed on an annual basis and kept on file at the SFA.

Financial Managment
Financial records must be kept to document SMP revenue and expenditures. Funds must be utilized to provide milk at no cost or at a low cost to children. Allowable costs include milk, coolers to store milk, milk cooler repair, napkins, straws, and direct food service labor.

Pricing Milk


half-pint cost + $0.02-$0.05 (administrative costs) - reimbursement = half-pint price X 180 operating days = annual fee

Food Safety
Letter to Household
  • SMP-only Household Letter
  • Note: The SMP-only Household Letter should be distributed by SFAs that participate in the NSLP and SBP that offer SMP to split session, half-day pre-kindergarten, or kindergarten students without access to the NSLP and/or SBP meals.
Point of Service

Milk counts must be taken at the Point of Service (POS), which is when a student receives their milk. Attendance counts are not an acceptable form of POS.


All SFAs must meet federal procurement (purchasing) requirements by documenting efforts to maximize open and free competition. Depending on the value of the purchase, schools have several options. Examples of solicitation documents for milk bids, along with other milk procurement resources, can be found on the Procurement webpage.

Record Retention

Records for the SMP must be kept for three years plus the current school year.

Reimbursement Rates

See the Financial Management webpage for the current Reimbursement Rates.

Special Dietary Needs

SFAs are required to provide milk substitutions for children with a disability that restricts their diet on a case-by-case basis when supported by a signed medical statement. Milk substitutions not supported by a signed medical statement are at the SFA’s discretion and must have the same nutritional composition as cow’s milk and have DPI’s approval. See the Special Dietary Needs webpage for more information.

Requirements for SMP-Only Schools

Pricing Options

Calculate Price

Reimbursement provided to schools should be maximized in order to reduce the cost of milk to students. It is recommended to charge the difference between the anticipated per half-pint milk cost and the reimbursement rate. Consider adding on 2 cents to cover any milk price adjustments and administrative costs associated with SMP.

$____ (half-pint cost) + 2¢ – $____ (reimbursement) =

$____ (half-pint price) X 180 days =

$____ (annual charge)

Note: This formula only applies to schools participating in one of the pricing options. Documentation must be maintained to justify milk price adjustments and administrative costs greater than 2 cents.

SFAs must choose one of the following pricing options:

Pricing (with free milk option)



Milk is provided without charge to children eligible for free milk and are claimed in the free claiming category. Children who are not eligible for free milk pay the established price and are claimed in the paid claiming category. There is no reduced claiming category.
The point-of-service (POS) counting system must determine how many half-pint equivalents (8 fl oz) are served to students by benefit category without overt identification. SMP POS templates are posted under the "For SFAs participating in the SMP" requirements section.

Application Materials

Public Release

All SFAs are required to distribute the SMP Public Release before the start of the school year. SFAs should send this to the media, grassroots organizations, major employers contemplating or experiencing large layoffs, and local unemployment offices (as applicable). SFAs are not required to pay to have the Public Release published, but must maintain documentation of to whom the release was sent along with the specific materials distributed.

Application Materials

Materials must be distributed to all households and used to qualify students for free milk benefits on or around the beginning of the school year, but not before July, 1. SFAs may also choose to use Direct Certification to find students that qualify for free milk.

Sharing Information and Disclosure Agreement

If the SFA exercises the option to waive or subsidize other district/school fees (e.g., registration, athletic fees, technology fees, etc.) based on a student’s free milk benefit status, the SFA must utilize the Sharing Information with Other Programs (Spanish) (Hmong) form. This form must be sent to all free benefit recipients, as determined through an application and Direct Certification.
SFAs are not allowed to have a blanket fee waiver. SFAs must allow households to limit consent to only those programs they wish to share information. Additional benefits outside of the milk benefit cannot be provided until a signed form is returned to the SFA allowing the information to be shared. For anyone receiving benefit information to approve students for non-milk benefits, a Disclosure Agreement form must be signed and on file at the SFA.
Pricing (without free milk option)



All children are charged the same price for milk. It is not provided without charge to children eligible for free milk. All milk is claimed in the paid category.

If a SFA charges for milk by half-pint equivalents (8 fl oz) on a daily basis, the point-of-service (POS) counting system must record individual student names for billing purposes. If a SFA collects milk fees on an annual, semester, or quarterly basis, the POS can record the total number of milks served rather than by individual student names. SMP POS templates are posted under the SMP-only Requirements section.



All children are provided milk without charge, or milk is included in tuition, boarding fees, or paid by private donation or endowment. All milk is claimed in the paid category.
The SFA may record the total number of half-pint equivalents (8 fl oz) of milk served at the point of service (POS). There is no requirement to track milks served by individual student names. SMP POS templates are posted under the SMP-only Requirements section.


Tanya Kirtz
Nutrition Program Consultant
(608) 266-2410

Jill Fehler
Nutrition Program Consultant

Christina Rothe, RDN, CD
Public Health Nutritionist