Direct Certification

The Direct Certification Match Process helps identify students qualifying for free or reduced lunch eligibility based on SNAP, TANF, Migrant, or Medicaid data.  

Identifications made through the DC match process may be additional to those identified through the federal meal benefit application process (for SFA-participating schools) or state FEDS form process (for non-SFA schools). 


For more information, email Maggie Necaise.

CSI’s Direct Certification Match Process

CSI staff completes the Direct Certification (DC) match process on students enrolled at: 

  • CSI schools that participate in the CSI SFA. Matching is completed by the CSI SFA on a monthly basis.  
  • CSI schools that do not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or what we refer to as non-SFA participating schools. Matching is completed multiple times per year. 
  • Special student populations (ex: students enrolled in a homeschool program) across all CSI schools.

CSI schools participating in another SFA would receive direct certification match data from their SFA contact. CSI schools participating in another SFA are responsible for regularly updating their SIS to reflect updated FRL determinations from data provided by their SFA.  

School Instructions for Updating SIS Data based on the DC Match File

When you receive a communication from CSI Staff that a direct certification match file is ready, please follow these instructions: 

  1. Download the file of matches from G-Drive following the path included in the email you received from CSI staff. Be sure to review these Direct Certification Instructions on how to read the various data in the DC Match File you receive.

2. Update each student’s FRL information in your SIS with the applicable eligibility found in the match file. 

3. Save copies of these documents where you store other audit-related documentation (like FEDS form) in case they are needed during an At-Risk audit.

Importance of Collecting & Updating FRL Statuses 

Collecting free and reduced lunch (FRL) eligibility (and entering the data in your SIS) for all students should be done at all schools throughout the school year regardless of lunch participation.

FRL statuses can impact:

  •  School funding (for this school year and next year; including Title 1 funding)
  • School eligibility for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).  
  • Family eligibility for Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (S-EBT). This collection typically starts April 1st – FRL statuses in the SIS should be updated prior to the collection openings.
  • Student/family access to resources and supports available to free-lunch eligible status, such as waiving/reduce school fees, providing transportation, helping families apply for other SNAP/food assistance programs, etc.

Record Retention Expectations  

Please be sure to save copies of the DC match file, any Extended Eligibility notes (see above), etc. in a safe place that you store other audit related documentation in case they are needed during an At-Risk audit.  

  • CSI retains a copy of the DC results since our office conducts the DC match process.  
  • CSI does not collect copies of FEDS forms or extended eligibility decisions, so that is solely the responsibility of each school to retain copies of those. 

Documentation must show an acceptable date of eligibility identification, which could be a state FEDS form signed by the family, a Direct Certification match file, a CSI approved McKinney-Vento form, or an extended eligibility decision document. (These are the main types for non-SFA participating schools.) 


Translate »