Child Nutrition Direct Certification Performance Awards

Direct Certification Performance Awards are designed to encourage States to ensure that all eligible children living in households receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are directly certified for free school meals.

Each year for three years, USDA may award
a total of up to 15 States for exemplary performance in their direct certification efforts with SNAP.

$2 million is available for each of two categories of awards: Outstanding Performance and Substantial Improvement, for a total of $4 million each year for FY 2012, FY 2013, and FY 2014.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2012: 14 States received performance awards - 6 for Outstanding Performance and 8 for Substantial Improvement in Direct Certification with SNAP. Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

The funds are to be treated as program income.

Funds may be used by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) State agency for program purposes.

The NSLP State agency may transfer funds to local school food authorities (SFAs) for use in carrying out the program.

These funds are only available to the State agencies administering the NSLP and to the SFAs to which the States may choose to transfer funds.

The amounts of the awards and the number of awards given (up to a total of 15) are at the discretion of USDA.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Only the State agencies that administer the NSLP are eligible.

There is no application needed for the Outstanding Performance Awards.

NSLP State agencies that are interested in being considered for the Substantial Improvement Awards, however, must submit a "Letter of Intent to Compete." Specific guidance goes out to the NSLP State agencies in the spring before the award is made.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The State agency that administers the NSLP may use the funds for program purposes or may transfer all or part of the funds to local SFAs for use in carrying out the program.


No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

States considered for these awards will come from the pool of States that have the highest NSLP direct certification rates for children in households receiving SNAP benefits or who have shown substantial improvement in direct certification rates, and meet other criteria. USDA may award up to 15 States each year. The number of the awards given in each category-and the amount of each individual award-is at the discretion of USDA and is not subject to judicial review. States cannot win both awards in the same year. Specific guidance to NSLP State agencies is issued each year.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C 1758(b)(4); Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Awards are made each fiscal year for FY 2012, FY 2013, and FY 2014.


Not Applicable.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements.
This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) intends to distribute awards to the winning States at the end of each fiscal year 2012, 2013, and 2014. There is no restriction placed on the time to spend the money awarded. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements


No reports are required.


No audits are required for this program.


The State agency or SFA should keep appropriate records normally required for use of program funds.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 12 $4,000,000; FY 13 est $4,000,000; and FY 14 est $4,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Cynthia Long, 3101 Park Center Drive Room 640, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. Phone: 703-305-2590.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

Social Entrepreneurship

Rwanda as Social Entrepreneur Fund Beneficiary

The Republic of Rwanda has been picked as one of the six African countries as beneficiaries for a new fellowship fund program designed at supporting social entrepreneurs in tackling issues on food security.

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