How do I lookup Direct Certification information in CALPADS?

*Direct Certification Codes Updated March 2, 2017 from CALPADS Flash #124

When a new student enters your school and is uploaded to CALPADS, they are automatically looked up in the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) data to see if a student qualifies for free meals under the NSLP guidelines.  This process is typically refreshed once a month.  The results are then available via an extract that can be downloaded and analyzed or uploaded to your Student Information System.

This article will help you to request, download and review the direct certification file.

You must have a CALPADS login in order to do this. If you do not have a CALPADS user name and password, see your CALPADS administrator for your school.

Step 1: Navigate to and login

20140212 0723 Capture

Step 2: Note the date of the current Direct Certification data as well as the next scheduled refresh in the “Upcoming Events” section of the CALPADS home screen.


Step 3:  Navigate to Admin > View Direct Certification Status

20140224 1451 Capture

Step 4:  You will now see a list of students.  Click on “Request Direct Certification Extract”

20140224 1458 Capture

Step 5:  Select the schools desired individually or “All” and click on “Request File”

20140224 1500 Capture

Step 6:  You will be taken to a screen where you will see a message that says “Extract Request made successfully.Please check back later for download.”  Navigate to Reports > Extracts.

20140224 1503 Capture

Step 7:  Under the Retrieve CALPADS Files Section, select “Direct Certification – Download a Direct Certification file”

20140224 1505 Capture

Step 8:  Click on Download (If the download button had not yet appeared, wait a few minutes and revisit the screen as the file may be in process)

20140224 1508 Capture

Step 9:  Review your file using your favorite spreadsheet program such as Excel.

This is a “^” delimited file.  You will notice that the last column will contain a code from the following key:

  • S =SNAP – The student is directly certified for free meals because the student is receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (also known as CalFresh).
  • M = Free MediCal – The student is directly certified for free meals because the student has met the income eligibility criteria through the MediCal program.
  • R = Reduced MediCal – The student is directly certified for reduced-price meals because the student has met the income eligibility criteria through the MediCal program.
  • T = TANF – The student is directly certified for free meals through TANF, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (CalWORKS).
  • N = Not Certified means that the student is Not Certified for free lunches.

From CALPADS Flash #124 dated March 2, 2017

As of March 7, 2017, the Direct Certification extract will reflect the following values noted in the table. Note that if you request the Direct Certification extract prior to  March 7, 2017, the system will use status codes of “S,” “O,” and “N” (“O” will be replaced as of March 7).

For more information, please contact the Direct Certification team ( in the Nutrition Services Division within the California Department of Education (CDE). For CALPADS-related questions, contact the CALPADS Service Desk at  

Should you have any questions, please contact the CALPADS Service Desk by: Submitting a service request ticket via the CDE CALPADS Service Request form at, or E-mailing


Updated on April 27, 2018

Was this article helpful?

Need Support?
Can't find the answer you're looking for? Don't worry we're here to help!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Knowledge For Schools by Measure Education