What is CalFresh?

The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), can increase students’ food budgets and help put healthy and nutritious food on their table. The program issues monthly electronic benefits on a plastic card, called the Golden State Advantage Card, which can be used just like a debit card. Benefits allow students to purchase food items at most grocery stores and markets. For a full list of stores that accept CalFresh, please click here.

The amount of benefits received is based on household size, income, and bills. The CalFresh Program helps improve the health and well-being of qualified households and individuals by providing them with a means to meet their nutritional needs. Since this is a federally funded program, only permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. can qualify.

How do I apply?

We recommend that you meet with a UCSB Calfresh Advocate who can walk you through the application process (please see outreach hours below).  Advocates can also help students navigate complicated cases, advocate for you with the department of social services, and offer general guidance and support. You can also apply on your own online at the CalFresh website, but we strongly recommend that you meet with an advocate who can assist you, and advocate your case if needed with the Department of Social Services

Food Security and CalFresh Advocate Outreach Locations

FALL 2019 Hours

Visit any of the following locations throughout the week to talk with a Food Security and Calfresh Advocate:

*AS Food Bank location has moved to the CalFresh & Basic Needs Advising Center located across from the UCen Bookstore

By appointment


In order to be eligible for CalFresh as a student, the student must:
(1) Be 18 years of age or older
(2) Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
       If you are not a resident, but need food assistance, please contact Financialcrisis@sa.ucsb.edu.
(3) And meet at least ONE of the Qualifications listed below:

  • Have been awarded work study at some point during the current academic year (awards from previous years will not be accepted)
  • Work a minimum of 20 hours/week
  • Receive Cal Grant A or B
  • EOP/EOPS member (does not apply to EOP associates)
  • Puente Program
  • College Disabled Student Program and Services/ Student Academic Support
  • Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) Program
  • UC McNair Program
  • Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program
  • Guardian Scholars Program
  • AB12 Former Foster Youth Program

NOTE: Students who receive 11 or more meals from another source (such as a co-op, sorority/fraternity house, or meal plan) may not be eligible for Calfresh.  For more information, speak with an Advocate today.

What should I bring?

To expedite the application process, please bring a copy of all of the following documents. Have questions about the documents? Bring as many of the documents as you can and the CalFresh advocates can guide you through the rest.

  • Bring your laptop if you have one (if not, you can use ours).
  • Identification: Birth Certificate, Driver License, CA ID, or U.S Passport
  • Social Security Number: Social Security Card
  • Immigration status: Permanent Resident Card (only required for non-citizens)
  • Earned Income: Dated check stubs for the last 30 days, statement of earnings from employer (if you are a UC employee, statements can be found at http://atyourservicesonline.ucop.edu)
  • Housing: Mortgage or rent receipt, first page of your lease agreement, or statement from your landlord/subletter
  • Utilities or Other Bills: gas, electricity, water, or telephone (1-2 recommended)