CalFresh Outreach Center

collage of fresh fruits and vegetables across the top, Cal Fresh Food logo at the bottom right corner.

CalFresh = money for groceries. The staff of Cal State LA's CalFresh Outreach Center helps guide students through the entire CalFresh application process, including determining eligibility to apply, assistance completing the application, obtaining verification documents, navigating the 30-day application period, and the renewal process.

This program is funded through the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and is implemented in partnership with county social services offices.

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh, known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, provides monthly benefits to purchase groceries to individuals and families with low-income and provides economic benefits to communities. CalFresh is the largest food program in California and provides an essential hunger safety net.

CalFresh benefits can help buy nutritious foods for a better diet. CalFresh benefits stretch food budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods. The amount of benefits a household receives is dependent on household size countable income, and monthly expenses, such as housing and utilities. The program issues monthly benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card (like a debit card). Food may be purchased at any grocery store or farmers market that accepts EBT cards.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for CalFresh you must meet the Basic Household Eligibility Guidelines. 

Basic Household Eligiblity

1. Your household income must meet the limits listed in the following table:

Number of People in Household Gross Monthly Income Max CalFresh Allotment*
1 $2,148 $250
2 $2,904 $459
3 $3,660 $658
4 $4,418 $835
5 $5,174 $992

Household = a person living alone or a group of people living together who purchase and prepare food together. *Minimum amount is $15/month.

2. Your household must include at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

*If you have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), you are most likely not eligible for CalFresh benefits, even with work VISA or SSN.

*If you or someone in your household receive more than half of (11 or more) meals per week from another source, you will not qualify for CalFresh food benefits. 


Student Exemption

If you are a student who is between 18 and 48 years of age, at least one of the following must apply to you: 

  • Work 20+ hours a week
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0
  • Cal Grant A or B recipient
  • Eligible for Federal Work Study
  • Enrolled in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
  • Medically verified as unable to work and registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD)
  • Participant in Guardian Scholars Program or Extended Foster Care Act
  • CalWORKs Recipient or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
  • Student with a child between 6 -12 years old with no adequate child care
  • Enrolled in a California Dept. Social Services approved Student Employment Program​

​​​​Current Cal State LA Student Employment Programs inlcude: 

  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program 
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work Program  
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientist Training Program

Application Process

STEP 1: If you think you may be eligible, please complete our online CalFresh Student Pre-Screening Form.

Once we receive the form, a CalFresh team member will contact you to schedule an appointment. We are experiencing a high volume of pre-screen forms but we thank you for your patience in hearing from our team. 

STEP 2: Although the CalFresh application is online, we encourage you to work on the application with a CalFresh Outreach team member. They are familiar with the process and will likely help get you through the application more efficiently. 

STEP 3: Once the county receives your application, your 30-day application period begins.

STEP 4: During this 30-day period, you will need to:

  • Complete an interview with the county office over the phone. The county office will call or mail you the date and time for your interview.
  • Let your CalFresh Outreach Team know if you have not heard from the county within 1 - 2 weeks. 

STEP 5: You will have to provide verification documents to your county office. Examples of verification documentation include:

  • Copy of ID
  • Proof of address and rent/mortgage receipt 
  • Utility bill(s)
  • Pay stubs of income from the last 30-days
  • Financial aid award letter and class schedule

STEP 6: To keep your CalFresh benefits, you will be required to complete:

  • Six months after your initial application is approved, the county will mail you the SAR 7 report to the mailing address you provided at the time of your application. 
  • After a year of receiving benefits, the county will mail you a Recertification Application and schedule a follow-up interview if neccesary. 

Contact CalFresh Outreach

We are assisting students remotely via Zoom but our CalFresh Outreach Center is open! We are located in the Student Services Building on the 4th Floor (Room 4380).

For questions, please email us at [email protected].

Additional food assistance is available at the Cal State LA Food Pantry.

This website was funded by USDA, SNAP, known in California as CalFresh, an equal opportunity provider and employer, and the California Department of Social Services.