Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

This report responds to the requirement of Public Law 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 (LEAs) to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required LEAs to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by school year (SY) 2008-2009. This report presents information on the outcomes of direct certification for SY 2014-2015.

Resource | Research | Program Access
Examining the Potential to Expand Data Matching in the School Meal Program Eligibility and Verification Processes

This White Paper examines whether any additional means-tested programs might be feasible for use in the direct certification of school-age children participating in school meals or for verification of household income on meal applications.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2015

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.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2014

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.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2013-2014

This report responds to the requirement of Public Law 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 (LEAs) to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required LEAs to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by school year (SY) 2008-2009. This report presents information on the outcomes of direct certification for SY 2013-2014.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Program Error in the NSLP and SBP: Findings from the Second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II)

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.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Access Evaluation Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; P.L. 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Year 1 Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; PL 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress School Year 2011-2012: 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 2011-2012, 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.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program State Implementation Progress, School Year 2010-2011 Report to Congress

This report responds to the requirement of Public Law 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of State and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Under direct certification, children are determined eligible for free school meals without the need for household applications by using data from other means-tested programs. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by School Year (SY) 2008-2009. In SY 2010-2011, 85 percent of LEAs directly certified some children from SNAP-recipient households. These LEAs enroll 97 percent of all students in NSLP schools. States and LEAs directly certified 1.9 million more children at the start of SY 2010-2011 than they did a year earlier. The share of SNAP participant children directly certified for free school meals increased to an estimated 78 percent in SY 2010-2011, up from 72 percent in SY 2009-2010.