Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Regional Office Review of Application (RORA) For School Meals 2011

This is the seventh 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 (NSLP). In School Year (SY) 2010/11, about 96 percent of students submitting applications for meal benefits were certified for the correct level of meal benefits, based on information in the application files. This was slightly lower than the 98-percent accuracy rate found in the 2 previous school years.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Using American Community Survey Data to Expand Access to School Meals Programs

This is a report of the National Academies' National Research Council, Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), which was commissioned by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. It is available here by permission. It may also be obtained through the National Research Council's website. This is the final version of the report. An earlier, prepublication version was made available in May 2012, but should no longer be used. This final version includes some important corrections.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
CACFP Assessment of Sponsor Tiering Determinations 2011

This is the seventh wave (2011) of a program assessment of the family daycare homes in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Child and Adult Care Food Program. The assessment provides a national estimate of the share of CACFP-participating family daycare homes that are approved for an incorrect level of per meal reimbursement, or reimbursement "tier," for their circumstances. 

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV

This report summarizes findings from the fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-IV), which collected data from nationally representative samples of school districts and schools in school year (SY) 2009-10. As in prior studies, the nutrient content of the average meals offered and served in the Nation’s schools was compared with regulatory standards in effect at the time—the School Meal Initiative (SMI) nutrition standards—as well as selected recommendations included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In January 2012, USDA issued new standards for school meals to be phased in over 3 years beginning in SY 2012-13. The data reported here thus serve as a marker of progress in achieving the SMI standards, and a baseline for measuring future improvements under the new standards. The study also collected information about the availability of competitive foods—foods sold in competition to USDA school meals through a la carte sales in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, and other venues. Finally, the study collected data from a sample of elementary schools participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) and compared them to elementary schools nationwide.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Performance Measurement for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Modernization Initiatives

This report is an exploratory study intended to add to the growing body of knowledge about how states are modernizing their programs by focusing specifically on how they monitor and measure the success of discrete aspects of their initiatives.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2010

This report – the latest in an annual series – presents estimates of the percentage of eligible persons, by State, who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during an average month in fiscal year 2010 and in the 2 previous fiscal years. This report also presents estimates of State participation rates for eligible “working poor” individuals (persons in households with earnings) over the same period. Although SNAP provides an important support for working families, the working poor has participated at rates that are substantially below those for all eligible persons.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates: Fiscal Year 2010

This report is the latest in a series on SNAP participation rates. Estimates are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey and program administrative data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. The findings represent participation rates for FY 2010.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2011

This report describes the characteristics of SNAP households and participants nationwide in fiscal year 2011 (October 2010 through September 2011). It also presents an overview of SNAP eligibility requirements and benefit levels in fiscal year 2011.

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 | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Food Purchase Study-III: Nutritional Characteristics of School Food Acquisitions

The most recent School Food Purchase Study provides national estimates of the types, amounts, and costs of foods acquired by public school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program during School Year (SY) 2009/10. It also includes a comprehensive analysis of the nutritional characteristics of foods acquired by these school districts. This report presents findings about the calories, nutrients, and food groups available for use in school meals and other school food programs, including a la carte foods, and the extent to which school food acquisitions are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and associated
food guidance system.