Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Study of Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program

The NSLP offers free and reduced-price school meals to students from eligible households. Households with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free meals, and households with incomes between 131 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for reduced-price meals. Traditionally, to receive these benefits, households had to complete and submit application forms to schools or be directly certified. Direct certification, on the other hand, is a method of eligibility determination that does not require families to complete school meal applications. Instead, school officials use documentation from the local or state welfare agency that indicates that a household participates in AFDC or food stamps as the basis for certifying students for free school meals.

Resource | Final Rule
Final Rule: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Additional Menu Planning Approaches

This final rule also adds a method that allows schools to use “any reasonable approach” to plan menus.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of the Nutrient Standard Menu Planning Demonstration

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NSLP operates in over 94,000 schools and institutions. More than 26 million children receive meals through the program on any given day; about half of these meals are provided free of charge. The SBP operates in approximately two-thirds of the schools and institutions that offer the NSLP, most commonly in schools that serve large numbers of economically disadvantaged children. On an average day, roughly seven million children receive breakfast through the SBP. The vast majority of these meals are provided free of charge. School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the NSLP and SBP receive two types of federal assistance: donated surplus commodities and cash reimbursements.

Resource | Proposed Rule
Proposed Rule: NSLP and SBP Additional Menu Planning Alternatives

The National School Lunch Act requires that schools that are participating in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs claim reimbursements only for lunches or breakfasts which meet the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Act, including compliance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.