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Home > Student Services > EOPS/CARE > CalFresh (Food Stamp) Student Eligibility Requirements

CalFresh (Food Stamp) Student Eligibility Requirements

​​​Definition of a Student

Any person 18 to 49 years old who:

  • is physically and mentally fit for work, and
  • is enrolled in school at least half-time, as defined by the institution, in an institution of higher education,
  • In an institution of higher education.

What are "Institutions of Higher Education"?

"Institutions of Higher Education" are now divided into two categories:

  • Business, trade, technical or vocational schools at the post-high school level that normally require a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment.
  • Junior, community, two-year or four-year colleges or universities, or graduate schools, regardless of whether a high school diploma or equivalency certificate is required: To be considered a student, the person must be enrolled at least half-time in these institutions' regular curriculum. NOTE: If a college normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, but does not require either of these for a particular program or course, enrollment in that particular program or course does not constitute enrollment in an institution of higher education. EXAMPLE: Joe is going to junior college half-time but is enrolled in mostly non-credit courses; only one class is for credit. For CalFresh purposes, he is not considered to be enrolled in an institution of higher education.

On-the-Job Training programs

Persons in on-the-job training programs have to meet the student eligibility requirements when they are attending classes at least half time and not involved in the training portion.

Student Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, a student must meet at least one of the following requirements on the date of the interview.

  • Be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and be paid for such employment, or,
  • If self-employed, be self-employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week, and receive gross weekly earnings at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours;  or
  • Be approved for state or federally financed work study for the current school term as defined by the institution, and anticipating working during the term; or
  • The exemption begins the month the school term starts or the month work study is approved, whichever is later. It continues until the end of the month the school term ends, or it becomes known that the student refused a work assignment; or
  • The exemption shall not continue between terms when there is a break of a full-month or longer unless the student is participating in work study during the break, or
  • Have parental control over a dependent household member under the age of six. A parent does not fulfill the student eligibility requirements if another household member provides the majority of child care for the dependent; or
  • Have parental control over a dependent household member, who has turned six but is under twelve, and the Food Stamp worker has determined that there is no adequate child care available for the student to attend class, work 20 hours per week, or participate in a state or federally financed work study program during the regular school year; or
  • Be assigned or placed in an institution of higher education through the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program (FSET), the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills Program (JOBS) under Title IV if the Social Security Act, any program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974, or a state or local government employment and training program for low-income individuals. For education to be approved as an FSET component the education should be of short duration, i.e. completion is expected in a year or less from the time of the Food Stamp application. Also, the education must have a direct relation to obtaining employment in the workforce; or
  • Be enrolled full time in an institution of higher education and is a single parent with responsibility for the care of a dependent child under age 12. This provision applies when only one of the child's natural, adoptive or step- parents, regardless of marital status, is in the same Food Stamp household as the child.


Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP​​S) assists eligible low-income and educationally disadvantaged students to achieve academic success by offering support services to enhance persistence, retention, graduation and transfer goals. Supportive services provided by EOPS include but are not limited to academic, career and personal counseling, basic skills instruction, tutoring, textbooks, meal tickets, transportation assistance and grants.
Enrollment in EOPS qualifies an otherwise CalFresh-eligible student for the CalFresh exemption as stated in MPP 63-406.216.
Students who provide proof of enrollment in either WIOA, as discussed above, or EOPS shall be eligible for CalFresh if they meet all other conditions of CalFresh eligibility.
CDSS and the workgroup are in the process of developing a form that CWDs may use to verify enrollment in WIOA or EOPS. Until such time that the form has been transmitted, CWDs should adhere to the verification requirements as described in All County Information Notice I-45-11, I-45-11E and MPP 63-300.5.

When Student Enrollment Status Begins and Ends

Enrollment begins the first day of the institution's school term. The student's enrollment is considered current through vacations and recesses, unless the student graduates, is suspended, expelled, or drops out.