Data & Research
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.
Statistical models were designed to estimate national improper payments due to certification error on an annual basis using district-level data. This enables FNS to update its estimates of national improper payment rates for the NSLP and SBP in future years without having to conduct full rounds of primary data collection.
The second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II) included a follow-on report that provided statistically-derived state-level estimates of school meals erroneous payments. However, while APEC II provided a rough indicator of relative risk for groups of states (e.g., higher than average, about average, lower than average), it was not a state-representative direct measure, and creating actual annual measures of such erroneous payments at the state level using APEC methodology is cost-prohibitive. This report explores alternative approaches to developing measurement-based state-specific estimates that are responsive to year-to-year changes in the actual underlying rate in each state. It also provides cost and burden estimates for the implementation of each of these methods.
This is the 11th in a series of annual reports that examines the administrative accuracy of eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program.
This is the tenth in a series of annual reports to examine administrative errors incurred during the local educational agency’s (LEA) approval process of household applications for free and reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This report examines administrative error estimates in student certification for free and reduced-price NSLP meals.
FNS developed the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) study series, which collects and analyzes data from a nationally representative sample of schools and school food authorities (SFAs) about every 5 years. APEC allows FNS to develop a national estimate of erroneous payment rates and amounts in three key areas: certification error, meal claiming error and aggregation error. FNS recently completed APEC II, which collected data in School Year 2012-2013 and this report summarizes those findings.
The study generates national estimates of administrative error in eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price school meals. For school year 2012-2013, local education agencies correctly certified 96.4% of students who applied for meal benefits. LEAs assigned the correct free, reduced-price, or paid status to a slightly smaller 96.2% of students.
This report summarizes the results of the school year 2007-08 application verification process for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
This is the first of a series of annual reports which will assess the administrative error associated with school food authorities’ approval of applications for free and reduced-price school meals. More than 95 percent of students who were approved for benefits on the basis of an application were receiving correct benefits, based on the information in the application files. In school year 2004-05, 3.5 percent of all students who submitted an application for free/reduced-price meal benefits had an administrative error in the processing of their applications,
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 directed the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of the feasibility of using computer technology to reduce over-certification, waste, fraud and abuse in the National School Lunch Program.