CalFresh Outreach Program

College Student Eligibility Information

1) Paid Work Rule:

  • Are you a college student working in a paid position for at least 20 hours per week OR a total of 80 hours a month on average?

2) Student Age and Living Situation:

  • Are you younger than 22 years of age AND living your parents or guardians?
    • If YES, stop here and apply for CalFresh Food benefits with your family.
    • If NO, go to Question 3.

3) Paid Work Rule Exemptions:

If you are not working in a paid position for at least 20 hours per week OR a total of 80 hours a month on average, you must meet ONE of the following exemptions:

  • 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).
  • 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

  • Enrolled in a state funded program that increases employability (EOP, EOPS, WIOA, DSPS, CARE, McNair Puente Project, or MESA).

  • Enrolled in a program that increases employability for current and former foster youth (Guardian Scholars, FYSI, CAFYES, ETV or Extended Foster Care).

  • 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 are a single parent of a dependent household member under the age of 12.

  • 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).

If you meet one of the above paid work rule exemptions, Click Here for Immediate Assistance.

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)