All Illinois students have a right to attend school for free, but most public schools also ask students to pay fees for certain things. These might include fees for:
- Student activities
- Certain lab classes
- Field trips
School fees must be waived for all students whose parents are unable to afford them, including students eligible for free breakfast or lunch. This includes families without income, those who are low income, and homeless students.
If a fee is “waived”, this means that the fee is not charged and the student will not owe money, but will still be allowed to go on the field trip, participate in graduation, use a locker, or take the science course.
It is against the law for a school or its employees to punish or discriminate against students for their inability to pay school fees.
Free lunch program for low-income students
Students who are enrolled in public and private schools in Illinois can buy school lunch. Low-income students may qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch and breakfast. Homeless students are also eligible for free breakfast and lunch, regardless of their family’s income. Contact your child’s school to request an application.
Undocumented immigrant students can also participate in the free lunch program, even though they do not have a social security number. If you are a parent of an undocumented immigrant student, say that your child does not have a social security number on the application. Any information you give to the school will only be used to get funding for the free lunch and breakfast program.