CalFresh Outreach Program

Part B. College Student Eligibility

Before moving forward, please complete Part A: Basic Eligibility (if you have not already done so). 

Recall that a student is defined by the CalFresh program as anyone who is:

  • Enrolled at least half-time (typically, 6 or more units) and
  • Between the ages of 18-49 years old and
  • Mentally and physically able to work
    • If you have a verified medical condition that prevents you from working, you may not have to meet the college student eligibility requirements
    • You may have to provide documentation from a medical professional. See MC-61 (PDF) as an example form.
Students must meet ONE of the following exemptions:
  • Working and getting paid for at least 20 hours per week OR a total of 80 hours a month on average.
  • Approved (or awarded or accepted) for federal or state work study, anticipates working, and have not refused a work assignment (can still be eligible even if a work study job has not begun or is not currently available).
  • Enrolled in a state funded program that increases employability (EOP, EOPS, WIOA, DSPS, Student Academic Services,CARE, McNair Scholars Program, MESA or Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program).
  • Enrolled in a program that increases employability for current and former foster youth (Guardian Scholars, FYSI, CAFYES, ETV or Extended Foster Care).
  • Participating in the CalFresh Food Employment and Training Program (CFET) or Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS), or be a recipient of CalWORKs or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).
  • Exerting parental control over a dependent household member under the age of 6 OR between the age of 6 and 12 with no adequate childcare (as determined by the county on a case-by-case basis) OR a single parent of a dependent household member under the age of 12.
  • Students attending CSU, UC or private university receiving Cal Grant A OR B, and that have received a letter from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) noting that they are potentially eligible for CalFresh benefits.

If you meet one of the above exemptions please reach out to your campus CalFresh Outreach team.

Other Things to Consider

  • International, DACA and DREAM students have been shown to NOT be eligible, even with a work VISA/SSN.

  • Out-of-state students can still be eligible for CalFresh Food if they are residing in California for the school year.

  • Student eligibility is based on enrollment at a higher education institution, which are defined as either: business, trade, technical or vocational schools normally requiring a high school diploma or GED to enroll; or a junior, community, two-year or four-year college or university, or graduate school, regardless whether a high school diploma or GED is required.

  • Veterans and foster youth may have many different forms of income. The applicant's eligibility worker will help them determine what income counts and what doesn't. All will need to be reported on the application.

College Student Eligibility FAQs (DOC)

For additional information about exempted programs that increase employability, please see ACL 17-05 (PDF)