Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program Pilot Project

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service conducted the three-year pilot from school year (SY) 2000–2001 through SY 2002–2003. The aim of this pilot was to study the impact of the availability of universal-free school breakfast on breakfast participation and measures related to elementary school students’ nutritional status and academic performance. This pilot was not intended to evaluate the current SBP or the value of consuming breakfast.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Assessing Implementation of the 2002 Farm Bill's Legal Immigrant Food Stamp Restorations

The rules that govern eligibility for food stamps among legal immigrants have changed several times in recent years. Most recently, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 restored food stamp eligibility to legal immigrants who: were disabled, regardless of date of entry, effective October 2002; had been in the United States at least five years, effective April 2003; or were children age, regardless of date of entry, effective October 2003. This study – conducted by The Urban Institute for the Food and Nutrition Service -- examines the implementation of these provisions to improve our understanding of the variation in State and local approaches, the challenges encountered in restoring eligibility, the degree to which the eligibility restorations brought new immigrant households into the program; and the potential impacts of sponsor deeming and
liability policies.

Resource | Grants | Assessing/Improving Operations
Research Grants to Improve Food Stamp Program Access Through Partnership and Technology: 2001 Program Evaluation Summary

In 2001, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded $3.7 million in grants to 14 organizations in 11 States to improve Food Stamp Program access through partnerships and new technology. These projects generally aimed to improve access among the elderly, immigrants, the working poor, and other hard-to-reach groups. The projects used a variety of approaches, including targeted advertising campaigns through community media outlets, informational web sites, computer-assisted pre-screening for eligibility, and direct application assistance.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the National School Lunch Program Application/Verification Pilot Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsored the NSLP Application/Verification Pilot Projects to test ways to improve the process for certifying students for free or reduced-price meals. This report presents findings on the impacts of two alternatives to the current application-based certification process - Up-Front Documentation and Graduated Verification - that were tested in 12 public school districts over a three-year period.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Measuring Competitive Foods in Schools

There has been growing concern about the sale in schools of foods with limited nutritional value. Of particular concern is the availability to school children of “competitive foods,” a term that includes a wide range of foods that do not qualify as reimbursable meals under the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program. Such foods can often be obtained from a la carte cafeteria sales, vending machines, and
school stores. While the widespread availability of competitive foods is well documented (Wechsler et al, 2001), there is relatively little detailed data on the amounts of various types of competitive foods that are sold in schools or about their nutrient content. Such information is needed to estimate the full prevalence of competitive food sales and to determine the types of changes and approaches needed to facilitate change. This “briefing report” summarizes research recently undertaken for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to develop a methodological basis for obtaining detailed information on the competitive foods sold in schools.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Case Study of National School Lunch Program Verification Outcomes in Large Metropolitan School Districts

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) provide federal financial assistance and commodities to schools serving lunches and breakfasts that meet required nutrition standards. Under the NSLP and the SBP, millions of American students receive a free or reduced-price lunch and/or breakfast every school day. Concern has grown recently that many students who participate in the program may in fact be ineligible for the benefits they receive. School Food Authorities (SFAs) that operate the NSLP must verify the eligibility of a small sample of approved applications by requiring documentation of income or receipt of food stamps or cash assistance. The verification process is designed to identify and deter errors in each district. However, the system does not provide data on the accuracy of benefit determination nationwide. This report presents the results of a case study of verification in 21 large metropolitan SFAs around the country. The study examined outcomes of the verification process and made an independent assessment of income eligibility of households with specific verification outcomes using data from in-person interviews with families.