Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

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 2014-2015.

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 | Demonstrations
Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Access Evaluation Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; P.L. 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Year 1 Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; P.L. 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Study: State Practices and Performance Report

This report uses statistical modeling techniques to assess the relationship between direct certification performance and specific State practices, seeking best practices and providing recommendations for States to use when developing their Continuous Improvement Plans.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Improvement Study

The purpose of this study is to describe current methods of direct certification used by State and local agencies and challenges facing States and local education agencies in attaining high matching rates.  In addition, the analysis of unmatched records provides a better understanding of the categorically eligible children who are not matched in the direct certification process and identifies potential matching process improvements that might increase the number of matched children. This study includes analysis of data drawn from a National Survey of Direct Certification Practices and case studies of seven States for School Year 2012-2013.

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

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.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress School Year 2011-2012: Report to Congress

Student eligibility for free meals is determined by application or by direct certification. Although direct certification systems vary by State and LEA, all such systems are designed to eliminate the need for paper applications. Effective in SY 2011-2012, LEAs must conduct direct certification three times per year: once at or around the start of the school year, and again three and six months after that initial effort. All direct certification systems now match student enrollment lists against SNAP agency records and the records of other assistance agencies whose participants are categorically eligible for free meals. The matching process, whether automated or manual, requires no action by the children’s parents or guardians.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program State Implementation Progress, School Year 2010-2011 Report to Congress

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. 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. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by School Year (SY) 2008-2009. In SY 2010-2011, 85 percent of LEAs directly certified some children from SNAP-recipient households. These LEAs enroll 97 percent of all students in NSLP schools. States and LEAs directly certified 1.9 million more children at the start of SY 2010-2011 than they did a year earlier. The share of SNAP participant children directly certified for free school meals increased to an estimated 78 percent in SY 2010-2011, up from 72 percent in SY 2009-2010.

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

This report responds to the legislative requirement of Public Law 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. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish a system of direct certification of children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by School Year (SY) 2008-2009. In SY 2009-2010, 83 percent of LEAs directly certified participating SNAP students. These LEAs enroll 97 percent of all students in NSLP schools. States and LEAs directly certified 1.6 million more children at the start of SY 2009-2010 than they did a year earlier, a 24-percent increase. The percentage of SNAP participant children certified for free school meals without application increased slightly from 71 percent in SY 2008-2009 to 72 percent in SY 2009-2010.