Resource | Research | General/Other
Evaluation of Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables

Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the USDA Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables was designed to provide states with additional flexibility in the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Participating states and school food authorities can purchase approved items with existing USDA Foods National School Lunch Program entitlement funds from any USDA Pilot-authorized vendor in support of the school meal standards.

Resource | Research | Food Security
Evaluation of Demonstration Projects to End Childhood Hunger (EDECH): Final Interim Evaluation Report

This study—authorized by the 2010 Child Nutrition Act—tests innovative strategies to end childhood hunger and food insecurity. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Analysis of Verification Summary Data School Year 2007-2008

This report summarizes the results of the school year (SY) 2007-2008 application verification process for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program. 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. Households do not provide documentation of income or participation in means-tested public assistance programs at the time they submit applications for school meal benefits. However, if selected for verification review, households must submit such documentation to maintain their free or reduced-price certifications. Households whose benefits are to be reduced or terminated as a result of the verification process are given an opportunity to appeal. In addition, households remain free to reapply for benefits at any time.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Direct Verification Pilot Study: Final Report

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004  permits direct verification of school meal applications and requires the Food and Nutrition Service to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of direct verification by school districts.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress - Report to Congress

This report responds to the legislative requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Under direct certification, children are determined eligible for free school meals without the need for household applications by using data from other means-tested programs. 

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
NSLP/SBP Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study – Erroneous Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Program errors and the risk of erroneous payments in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) continue to be a concern. Slightly more than one in five students were certified inaccurately or erroneously denied benefits in school year (SY) 2005-06. New data estimates the gross cost of school meals erroneous payments due to certification error at about $935 million while other operational errors represent about $860 million. Most of the payment errors resulted from (1) household misreporting of income, (2) administrative errors by school districts in processing applications, and (3) errors by cashiers in counting reimbursable meals. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use this new information to continue the extensive work underway, and step up its commitment to work with Congress and program partners to address these erroneous payments. Actions to reduce these errors must improve accuracy without compromising access for low-income families, must not unduly increase burden on schools, and must be cost-effective.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Verification Pilot Study: First Year Report

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 permits direct verification of school meal applications and requires FNS to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of direct verification (instead of household verification) by school district.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Accuracy of SFA Processing of School Lunch Applications – Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) 2006

This is the second in a series of annual reports assessing administrative errors associated with School Food Authorities’ (SFAs) approval of applications for free and reduced-price school meals. In school year 2005/06, more than 96 percent of students who were approved for meal benefits on the basis of an application were receiving the correct level of meal benefits, based on the information in the application
files. Three percent of all students who submitted an application for meal benefits had an administrative error in the processing of their applications, down slightly from 3.5 percent in the previous school year, although not statistically significant.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Report to Congress: USDA's Simplified Summer Food Program 2001-2006

The Simplified Summer Food Program (“Simplified Summer”) is a modified version of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The modifications allow reimbursements at a fixed rate rather than limiting reimbursement to administrative and operating costs documented by the individual provider. Simplified Summer was based on the Lugar Pilot Project (“Pilot”) which was in place from FY 2001 to FY 2004. Simplified Summer began operating in FY 2005 and extends the summer food program benefits, first established in the Pilot, to additional states. Meals served are reimbursed at the allowable rates under SFSP without regard to actual or budgeted costs. Sponsoring organizations in Simplified Summer do not have to report costs in order to receive reimbursement, nor are they limited to using administrative funds strictly for administration. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) evaluate the impact of Simplified Summer which now operates in 26 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.