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

The fourth Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC IV) is a national study that occurs with different schools every five years. The purpose of the study is to provide national estimates of improper payments (over and under payments) in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) in school year (SY) 2023-2024. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has contracted with Westat to conduct the APEC IV study.

All schools selected for participation in APEC IV are notified via mailed letter and email.
Following receipt of the letter, a member of the APEC IV study team will call to confirm this information was received and answer any questions about the study. If your school has been selected for participation, your SFA has already begun participating in the study.

APEC IV is a research study, not an audit. All information collected will be kept private and will not affect meal reimbursements or meal program benefits for your school or students. Your assistance is critical to ensure that the study includes a diverse group of schools that will help Congress make decisions about future improvements to the NSLP and SBP.

What’s Ahead

In 2023

This April, your SFA will provide a list of student households that applied for school meals in SY 2022-2023.  Then in August, we will contact a random sample of those student households and ask them to complete a survey via telephone and/or Zoom. (Households will receive up to $60 for completing the survey.) For households, we call the study the National School Meals Study.

In 2024

Starting in February 2024, the APEC IV study team will schedule a one-time site visit to each selected school to observe a meal service and collect information on meals provided to students.