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Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, SY 2014-15

This report responds to the requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the states and by local educational agencies to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Year 2 Demonstration Impacts of Using Medicaid Data to Directly Certify Students for Free School Meals

The Food and Nutrition Service conducted the Direct Certification with Medicaid (DC-M) demonstration that enables selected States and districts to use household income data from Medicaid files to directly certify students for free school meals. This report focuses on the experiences of States and districts conducting DC-M during School Year (SY) 2013-2014, the second year of the demonstration. It examines whether DC-M leads to changes in the percentage of students certified, the number of meals served, Federal reimbursements, and certification costs incurred by districts. It also assesses State-level administrative costs and identifies the challenges that States and districts face when implementing DC-M.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity

Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress SY 2011-12: Report to Congress

Student eligibility for free meals is determined by application or by direct certification. Although direct certification systems vary by State and LEA, all such systems are designed to eliminate the need for paper applications. Effective in SY 2011-12, LEAs must conduct direct certification three times per year: once at or around the start of the school year, and again three and six months after that initial effort. All direct certification systems now match student enrollment lists against SNAP agency records and the records of other assistance agencies whose participants are categorically eligible for free meals. The matching process, whether automated or manual, requires no action by the children’s parents or guardians.