The Direct Certification Matching Process is intended to certify all eligible students for free school meals without further application, who reside in a household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Therefore, if a member of the household is eligible for SNAP, all children in that household are eligible for meals at no charge.

However, while the US Department of Agriculture has stipulated that states need to achieve a 95% Direct Certification rate, the process is often onerous and time-consuming. These challenges can lead to both over and underpayments of meal reimbursements, and ultimately students going hungry at school.

Direct Certification

Achieve a Direct Certification rate of 95% or higher with DirectMatch’s powerful and flexible matching features. Districts and state users can match and qualify students for benefits. With multiple matching options, states and districts can increase their Direct Certification rates and provide more meals to eligible students.

Community Eligibility Provision

With eScholar DirectMatch, users can access snapshot data for the indicated location or district and take action through submitting CEP, renewing, creating groups, and easily recalculating ISP. Authorized users will be able to see the total number of students identified, the total number of students enrolled, the districts ISP, population status, election status, and learn more about population details on counts in programs like Head Start or SNAP.


DirectMatch enables users to generate and customize required USDA reports. These include FNS 834 and the USDA May and September Reports. Users can also run match result reports and audit previous Direct Certification matches.

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Same Time and Money: The robust matching process minimizes the effort and time of users for finding and resolving matches.

Identify eligible students more frequently: Users can run DirectMatch eScholar beyond a minimum of three times a year. By directly certifying more frequently, the states and districts ensure that children begin receiving free/reduced meals as soon as they are verified eligible.

More Programs to Match: States and districts can use DirectMatch with different source files, including SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Foster, Migrant, and Homeless data.

More Ways to Match: Users can match using program data, address data, person ID data, a file, or manually enter data.

Improve Participation Rates: Properly linked data enables accurate results which improve participation rates.  LEAs and Non-publics increase their participation rate by more identifying and linking the students.

Key Features 

Match Accurately with Confidence. eScholar DirectMatch’s highly sophisticated matching engine uses a combination of deterministic and probabilistic matching algorithms.
Automate the Matching Process. Student records can be automatically sourced from eScholar Uniq-ID or manually uploaded from any other unique student identifier systems and matched against SNAP files during Direct Certification process.
Review, Verify, and Audit Your Data. All match decisions are kept permanently and are accessible by the end-user through the original submission throughout the Direct Certification process, including the SNAP file loaded by the state.
Access eScholar DirectMatch from a web browser. The web-based solution can be centrally managed by the State, while at the same time empowering local education agencies (LEAs) and School Food Administrators (SFAs) to initiate the Direct Certification and Direct Verification process and resolve near matches, all within one centralized system.
Match Records Without a Unique Identifier. Student records from non-public institutions can be matched against a SNAP file even without a state unique ID.
Resolve Near Matches Quickly. An end user, such as a school food administrator, can quickly resolve the near match through the user interface without opening another Excel file or uploading data to a separate system once the match decision has been made.
Protect Personally Identifiable Information. eScholar DirectMatch access is set at the user role level, ensuring that an LEA user only sees data for its LEA.
Set Your State’s Matching Properties. Configurable matching properties allow administrators to set matching thresholds, search history, and to use matching fields such as Address.
Available as a Module to eScholar Uniq-ID customers. For those states using the eScholar Uniq-ID, the eScholar DirectMatch component can be added as a plugin to eScholar Uniq-ID which also includes a new configurable DirectMatch role.