ST. PAUL -- As students and their families get ready for school this fall, Governor Walz has announced a way to expand school meals to more students. 

Direct certification is a pilot program by the United States Department of Agriculture where students on Medicaid will be automatically enrolled or re-enrolled for free meals at school. Minnesota is one of eight states to participate in the pilot program. 

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Governor Walz explains the importance of this program. 

This is a huge win for Minnesota families and schools. As a former classroom teacher of 20 years, I know that accessibility of school meals is top of mind for thousands of families and students preparing for school in the fall. This project means fewer children will go hungry at school next year, and we know that’s the number one way we can help students succeed. 

The Department of Human Services submitted data to the Minnesota Department of Education that identified more than 450,000 children in Minnesota, enrolled in medicare, that met the income guidelines for direct certification. 

According to a news release from Governor Walz’s office, of the students eligible to be newly directly certified by Medicaid, around 90,000 are estimated to not currently be enrolled in FRP meals.


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