Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
The Second Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study (APEC II): Estimating and Validating Statistical Models for Updating Estimates of Improper Payments in the NSLP and SBP

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.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Approaches to Measuring Erroneous Payments in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program At The State Level

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.

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 | Assessing/Improving Operations
Regional Office Review of Applications ( RORA) for School Meals 2013

The study generates national estimates of administrative error in eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price school meals.  For school year (SY) 2012-2013, local education agencies (LEAs) correctly certified 96.4 percent of students who applied for meal benefits.  LEAs assigned the correct free, reduced-price, or paid status to a slightly smaller 96.2 percent of students.  Roughly three quarters of certification and benefit issuance error resulted in a higher benefit level than was justified based on the data presented on household applications; about one quarter of LEA administrative error resulted in a lower benefit level than justified.  Certification and benefit issuance error increased slightly from SY 2011-2012 to SY 2012-2013, but the changes were not statistically significant.  Over the nine years of this report series, certification error has ranged between 2.0 and 3.9 percent; benefit issuance error has ranged between 3.0 and 4.6 percent.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Analysis of Verification Summary Data School Year 2008-2009

This report summarizes the results of the school year (SY) 2008-2009 application verification process for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Each year, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) review a sample of applications that they approved for free or reduced-price school meal benefits at the start of the school year.

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

The Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA) (Public Law 107-300) requires all Federal agencies to calculate the amount of erroneous payments in Federal programs and to periodically conduct detailed assessments of vulnerable program components. 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 (CACFP). 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. Tiering errors result in improper payments because misclassified family day care homes do not receive the appropriate level of reimbursement for the meals and snacks provided to the children. The assessment also estimates the dollar amount of improper payments attributable to family daycare home tiering errors.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Modeling of High-Risk Indicators of Certification Error in the National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides subsidized lunches to more than 30 million children each school day. The program is means-tested; schools must obtain income data from households to certify students as eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification (APEC) study found that one in five children certified for free or reduced- price meals in school year (SY) 2005-2006 was erroneously certified or incorrectly denied benefits. This study builds on APEC with three objectives: Develop an econometric model to identify indicators of local education authorities (LEAs) with high risk of certification error. Identify the key relationships between certification error and local characteristics. Provide a Web-based monitoring tool that will apply model parameters to annual Verification Summary Report (VSR) data.