School Food Authorities

Thank you for visiting this page!  As the study advances, more information for SFAs will be posted here.

APEC IV study findings will be used to recommend improvements to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and national School Breakfast Program (SBP). Your participation in APEC IV helps to ensure those recommendations reflect your SFA’s experiences and also represent the experiences of other SFAs not included in this round of the study.

APEC IV is a research study, not an audit of any type. All information gathered from states, SFAs, schools and households is for research purposes only. All responses will be grouped with those of other participants, and no individual state, SFA, school or household will be identified in public documents or data files.

Participation in APEC studies will not affect meal reimbursements to participating districts and schools, nor will it affect the meal program benefits received by participating students and households.

What SFA participation entails:

little boy eating lunch smiling

APEC IV has multiple parts and associated activities.

To date, SFAs have been asked to:

  • Review, confirm and/or update information on their schools.
  • Notify their selected schools about APEC IV and encourage their participation.

Currently, we are in the household sampling phase for the forthcoming Household Survey. Households know APEC IV as the “National School Meals Study.”

In order to sample student households, we ask SFAs to provide a data file of students who applied for free or reduced-price meals or were directly certified for free meals in SY 2022-2023.

Over the next year, SFAs will be asked to:

  • Provide an updated data file of students who applied for free or reduced-price meals or were directly certified for free meals in SY 2023-2024.
  • Complete online questionnaires to facilitate an on-site data collection visit.
  • Provide the following information either before or during the on-site data collection visit:
    • Random sample of school meal applications and/or direct certification records for SY 2023-2024.Meal count and claims records covering a specified month in SY 2023-2024.Data on student eligibility in CEP schools (if applicable).
    • Records of meal participation covering a specified month in SY 2023-2024.
  • After the on-site data collection visit, SFA directors will be asked to complete an online survey about their SFA’s process for implementing the NSLP and SBP.

Thank you, SFAs!  We could not do this without you.

A new feature for APEC IV:

Each SFA will have access to a study dashboard that will:

  • Allow them to monitor the completion of data collection activities.
  • Provide enhanced communication between the SFA and the APEC IV study team.

About the SFA Director Survey:

This web survey is part of the APEC IV research study. While the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act as amended through Public Law 111-296 requires SFAs to cooperate with FNS research studies, a staff member’s individual participation in the SFA Director Survey is voluntary. You may skip any question you do not wish to answer and you can stop the survey at any time. Refusal to participate will not have any impact on your district or your role at the SFA.

What will be asked:

The survey will take about 30 minutes, and will ask questions about the following topics related to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or the national School Breakfast Program (SBP):

  • Participation in special provisions (Provision 2/3 or CEP);
  • The process to certify students for free and reduced-price meals;
  • The direct certification process;
  • The household application process;
  • Students’ eligibility status; and
  • How the SFA and its schools record and claim all meals served.