Poverty level refers to the percentage of students at a given school who qualify for free and reduced fee lunch, which is considered a measure of economic need.
To be deemed eligible for free lunch, a student's family income must be within 130% of the poverty line (a max of $29,055 for a family of four). For reduced fee lunch, the family income must be within 185% of the poverty level (a max of $41,348 for a family of four).
Schools with 40%-64% of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "high poverty" while schools with 65%+ of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "highest poverty".
We receive this data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For projects submitted from a school where free lunch rate data is unavailable or unreliable, "Poverty Data Unavailable" will appear.
If you believe your school's poverty level is incorrect in the DonorsChoose.org database, contact our team (be sure to click "I'm a Teacher," and then select the "Registering, Eligibility, or Account Information" category) and either provide us with an official government website listing your school's free and reduced lunch percentage, or ask that your principal/director send in an email providing this official percentage.