HONOLULU (AP) _ The Hawaii State Department of Education will be testing a pilot program at seven public schools that will allow all students to receive free meals.

Hawaii News now reports (http://bit.ly/1RTeaQP ) that the program, called Community Eligibility Provisions, is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi says the high cost of a mean in Hawaii compared to other parts of the country will be a major factor in the pilot program.

HIDOE pays an average $5.50 a meal and the USDA reimburses $3.67 for students who qualify for a free meal, $.40 for those who pay.

Under the new program all students would qualify for the higher reimbursement. The seven pilot schools will not be collecting revenue from paying students, but families will be required to submit information for a study.