Project: The Economic Impact of School Meal Certification Approaches on the Uptake of Free- and Reduced-Price Meals
Award Year: 2007
Amount of award, fiscal 2007: $185,000.00
Institution: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Michael Ponza
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This project will assess the effects of school- and student-level factors on participation in USDA's school meal programs, using data from the Food and Nutrition Service's Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study. This study includes data on students certified for free and reduced-price meals during the 2005-06 school year, data on students who applied for but were denied free or reduced-price meals, as well as detailed information on relevant policies and practices of the schools the students attend. School-level factors that may influence whether students who are certified for free or reduced-price meals actually participate (that is, take the meals) include use of direct certification, Provision 2 or 3 status, use of electronic meal-processing technology, and school type (e.g., elementary versus middle school). Student-level factors include household economic, demographic, and food security status, student age and grade level, and child and parent attitudes toward school meals. Reported household school meal certification and participation will also be compared with school administrative data, adding to our understanding of accuracy of program participation reporting by households. Results from the study should help inform policies designed to improve targeting of USDA school meal program benefits.
Topic: Program Operations, School Lunch and Breakfast
Moore, Q., L. Hulsey, and M. Ponza. Factors Associated With School Meal Participation and the Relationship Between Different Participation Measures, Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 53, USDA, ERS, June 2009.