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Office for Food and Nutrition Programs

Access to Department of Transitional Assistance Direct Certification Information

To:Child Nutrition Program Directors
From:Kathleen C. Millett, Administrator, School Nutrition and Health


The sorting of students eligible for free meals through the data transfer of Food Stamp Eligibility information from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) has been completed. From a database of over 132,000 of children under the age of 19 receiving food stamp benefits, we were able to match over 108,000 names to the Student Information Management System (SIMS). As a result of this match, these children are categorically eligible to receive free meals in schools. In some cases, you will find that students previously reported as non-eligible or as eligible for reduced price meals are eligible for free meals. This is a significant increase over previous direct certification efforts. For students that we were unable to match, the Department of Transitional Assistance will be mailing notices to households as they did in the past. We believe the non-matches are in many cases, to be students not enrolled in public schools or not of school age.

As mentioned in my correspondence of August 24, 2005 the information by school district of students that qualify for free meals through this process has been posted to the Department's security portal. You will need to coordinate with your district technology director to download an Excel spreadsheet of student information. All students listed on the direct certification file are eligible for free meals. In some cases, previous information reported by the district technology director for free meal eligibility might need to be updated. To access the DTA direct certification file through the DOE Security Portal, follow these steps:

  • You will find the Security Portal on the DOE website at
  • Under the "Select Program Area" drop down box, scroll down and select "Security Portal" You will be prompted to enter your user id and password. (Note: If you have not already been assigned a user id and password, this should be available from your district directory administrator.)

After you log in:

  • Select Drop Box Central
  • The option you are interested in for the direct certification files is "Nutrition Services". Select that.
  • Next you should be prompted to select an "organization and "your district's name should be listed.
  • Once you select "your district's name", and click "Next", you should be connected with a screen where you can view the Out Box, and the excel file should be listed there.

The files contain the following fields:

dta_fnamefor the Department of Transitional Assistance first name of child
dta_lnamefor the Department of Transitional Assistance last name of child
dta_dobfor the Department of Transitional Assistance Date of Birth
dta_city for the Department of Transitional Assistance city/town information
ap_id for the Department of Transitional Assistance identification
org_codefor the Department of Education's organization code
sasidfor the statewide student identification code
school for the code of school where the student attends
sims_fname for the student's first name as in SIMS
sims_mnamefor the student's middle name as in SIMS
sims_lnamefor the student's last name as reported in SIMS
sims_dobfor the student's date of birth as reported in SIMS
low_incfor the student's last reported status in SIMS (01 for free eligible, 00 for not reported low income, 02 for reduced price meals eligible)
genderfor the gender of the student
gradefor the grade attending
town_cdfor the town code
sims_townfor the name of the town in SIMS
match_tpfor the way the match was completed.
match_desc for the criteria match. In some cases, updates need to be done for students that do not have the MALL designation in the match_tp field.

Questions regarding issues related to accessing the information should be directed to the technology hotline at 781-338-3282. Questions on the data itself should be addressed to Leon Budilovsky at 781-338-6868. Other questions may be directed to the School Nutrition section at 781-338-6498.

Last Updated: September 13, 2005

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