Students can only qualify for CalFresh if they meet certain criteria. There are many definitions and exemptions that can be confusing. Read carefully in order to find out if you are considered a student and whether you may be eligible. Even if you are not eligible for CalFresh, remember that other people in your household may still qualify.
First, it is important to determine if you are considered a student.
Who is a student?
You are considered a student if you are:
1. Between the ages of 18-49 and are physically and mentally “fit” for employment. If the person has a disability, they are not considered a student.
2. Enrolled at least half-time* in regular curriculum at an “institution of higher education”** in which the regular curriculum meets the standard requirements for graduation or certification in a particular field of study.
*Half-time is determined by the institution in which you are enrolled.
**An institution of higher education is a business, trade, technical or vocational school that usually requires a high school diploma or GED; or a junior, community, two-year or four-year college or university, or graduate school. It does not matter whether a high school diploma or GED is required.
Individuals who are attending school and do not meet all of the above CalFresh student criteria, are not considered students (for the purposes of CalFresh) and will not have to meet any student-related CalFresh requirements.
If you are considered a student, you can get CalFresh if you meet at least one of the following exemptions:
- Work at least 20 hours per week, on average;
- Are approved for state or federal work-study money and have not refused any job assignments;
- Are approved and awarded TANF funded Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B;
- Are a full-time student who is a single parent to a child under 12;
- A part-time student with a child age 6-11 without adequate child care;
- Are receiving CalWORKs benefits;
- Are enrolled in CalFresh employment and training or another job training program accepted by CalFresh; (see below for a list of these programs)
- Do not plan to register for the next school term.
Who is not a student?
The student eligibility rules do not apply to people who are:
- Age 17 and under or age 50 and older, OR
- Physically and mentally “unfit” for employment, OR
- In high school, OR
- Enrolled less than half-time, OR
- Enrolled in programs or classes that do not require a high school diploma or GED, OR
- Enrolled in schools that are not considered institutions of higher education.
If you are not a student and you meet other eligibility requirements, you should apply for CalFresh.