Direct Certification

Direct certification is a process for determining student eligibility for free meal benefits based on documentation obtained directly from the appropriate state or local agency or other authorized individual. The direct certification process is used by the Minnesota Department of Education to notify public school districts of students who can be approved for free meals based on Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) data, without any application for educational benefits from the household. The DHS data is based on households eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP).

Public school districts may obtain direct certification reports in the Cyberlinked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). Nonpublic schools must upload student enrollment files at least three times annually to CLiCS to match against direct certification data. Public schools also have the option of uploading files to match newly enrolled students.

Refer to the resources below and on the right of the page for additional information on direct certification.

  • Direct Certification Notification Letter - 3/25/21  pdf iconPDF 
    Sample letter used to notify households of direct certification approval for school meals for the School Nutrition Programs.
  •  - 11/19/20
    Guidance on the certification of migrant students for free meal benefits.
  •  - 10/1/20
    Electronic edits incorporated into Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) identify students who have not been reported as eligible for free meals, but meet other categorical eligibility designations. This document details the warnings that may be indicated in the MARSS Error Report that may be used to certify the students listed for free meal benefits.
  • Procedures for Direct Certification - 10/31/19
    Detailed instructions for accessing and utilizing Direct Certification reports to qualify students for meal benefits.
  • School Enrollment File Upload Template - 5/16/19
  • How to Obtain Certification Data for a Nonpublic or New School - 10/3/18
  • CLiCS 2 Direct Certification User Manual - 8/3/18