Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2012–2013: Report to Congress

Last Published: 12/06/2013

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. States and LEAs directly certified 12.3 million children at the start of SY 2012-2013, an increase of 740,000, or 6 percent, from the previous school year. Over the same period, the population of school-age SNAP participant children increased by just 1.5 percent. As a result, the share of SNAP participant children certified for free school meals without application increased to 89 percent in SY 2012-2013, up from 86 percent in SY 2011-2012.