Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Evaluation of the Independent Review of Applications in USDA Child Nutrition Programs

Resource type
Research type
Policy Analysis
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Summary (185.19 KB)
PDF Icon Final Report (2.42 MB)

The Evaluation of the Independent Review Process study examined the processes, procedures, and effectiveness of a second, independent review of applications (IRA) for certain local education agencies (LEAs). Under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, LEAs that demonstrate high levels of, or a high risk for, administrative error associated with certification, verification, and other school meal program administrative processes are required to conduct a second review of the eligibility determinations. The requirement, which was first implemented in School Year (SY) 2014-15, is intended to reduce administrative certification error in LEA processing of household applications.

The objectives of the study are to collect data and describe the policies of the IRA, review and analyze household applications for two nonconsecutive school years (SY 2016-17 and SY 2018-19), and assess the effectiveness of the IRA. Collected data are; (1) a survey of state agencies in Fall 2019; (2) in-depth interviews in Fall 2019 with a selected sample of 30 LEAs; and (3) the collection of household applications from 15 LEAs interviewed for SYs 2016-17 and 2018-19. The study applied both a process and an outcomes assessment to pursue the objectives.

Updated: 12/01/2021