The opportunity to increase access for millions of Americans to the National School Lunch Program and reduce errors on applications they submit to schools.

What it does

Our application streamlines the data collection process, and only asks question that are pertinent to each applicant's personal circumstances. The questions are clear and concise with logical response options.

How we built it

We reviewed the requirements for the project, as well as the existing paper application, and began to sketch out ideas for the electronic version. We put these ideas into a process diagram, in order to view the flow of the application. From this process diagram, we began building the electronic application. The application is presented to the user in HTML5, and utilizes jQuery to add interactivity and enhance the user experience. The back end is written in PHP. Data entered by the user are stored in PHP variables, which are written to a database when the application is submitted.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge we faced was determining the optimal flow of questions to present to the applicant. We also had to ensure the application was user friendly, and make sure that it was easy to fill out for applicants of diverse backgrounds and technical skill levels.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Creating a professional application, and using teamwork to overcome challenges and get the final project up and running.

What we learned

We learned that we need to consider all possible scenarios when developing an application that will be used by a diverse group of people. We also learned more about how to successfully manage a technical project from start to finish.


  • Mobile friendly, responsive design
  • Supports all major web browsers including: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari
  • Data entered is securely stored on the server and not in cookies on the local machine. This is an important feature for applicants who are using a public computer
  • Submitted applications are stored in a database and the data can be exported using the database management system
  • Application can be translated into 100+ languages
  • City and State populate automatically when zip code is entered
  • Auto-format is utilized in the following fields: Income, phone number, zip code, and the last 4 digits of the social security number
  • Interactive progress bar simplifies navigation
  • Users are only presented with relevant questions based on previous responses
  • Applicants cannot proceed to the following step until required questions have been answered
  • Ability to cancel the application at any time during the process
  • A unique confirmation number is generated upon successful completion of the application, and a confirmation email is sent if the applicant provides an email address
  • There is a print friendly confirmation page for applicants who choose to not receive an email confirmation
+ 55 more
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