New Product Enhancement: eScholar DirectMatch’s CEP Module

Our team has recently updated the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) module within our DirectMatch product. CEP allows eligible schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students, regardless of their individual family income. There is more access to free meals for more students, potentially reducing food insecurity in high-need areas.

This update significantly improves the functionality and user experience for states and school districts managing their school meal programs. The CEP module now offers enhanced features that streamline the process of determining eligibility and managing participation in the CEP. 

In the fall of 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an update to CEP, which lowered the minimum Identified Student Percentage (ISP) threshold for CEP participation from 40% to 25%. The ISP is the percentage of students in a school who are directly certified for free school meals without requiring an application. This change means that more schools are now eligible to participate in CEP, meaning more kids have access to guaranteed breakfast and lunch. 

The following new features enable our DirectMatch customers that are using it for Direct Certification and CEP management to have a more integrated workflow, intuitive user experience, and flexibility with configurations. Key features and updates include: 

  1. Integrated Data Management: The CEP module integrates seamlessly with direct certification data and enrollment information, providing a comprehensive solution for managing CEP participation. This integration ensures more accurate and efficient decision-making processes. 
  2. User-Friendly Interface: The updated interface offers a streamlined experience, allowing users to view current and historical data side-by-side. This feature facilitates easier comparison of base year information with current population data, aiding in informed decision-making about CEP participation. 
  3. Flexible Configuration: States can now configure key parameters such as the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) threshold, grace year threshold, and multiplier directly within the user interface. This flexibility ensures that the system can adapt to changing regulations without requiring backend modifications. 
  4. State-Level Oversight: State users have additional capabilities to review and approve or reject submissions from districts, ensuring proper oversight and data quality. 


Benefits for Users 

  • Increased Efficiency: The integrated approach reduces the need for manual data entry and separate systems, saving time and reducing errors. 
  • Better Decision Support: Side-by-side data comparisons and clear status indicators help users make more informed decisions about CEP participation. 
  • Improved Compliance: The system’s built-in logic helps ensure that decisions comply with current CEP regulations. 
  • Enhanced Collaboration: The streamlined process facilitates better communication between districts and state agencies. 


The updated CEP module in eScholar DirectMatch represents a significant advancement in managing school meal programs. By providing a more user-friendly, flexible, and comprehensive tool, eScholar is helping states and districts increase and maintain Direct Certification rates above 95%, increase participation in CEP, and ultimately ensuring that fewer students are experiencing hunger in school.  

As school nutrition programs continue to evolve, tools like eScholar DirectMatch’s CEP module play a crucial role in simplifying complex processes and supporting the important work of feeding America’s students. 

If you’re interested in learning more, our team will be hosting a webinar soon. Click the button below to register and get notifications when the event is set!  

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