CalFresh Food Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

What is CalFresh?CalFresh provides monthly financial assistance to individuals and families who qualify to purchase grocery items.

How does CalFresh work?CalFresh benefits are issued monthly on an EBT card that works like a debit card and can be used at most grocery stores, some farmers markets, and online, including on Amazon, when locations allow (for example, Chico is not a location supported by Amazon grocery delivery).

How do I know if I'm eligible for CalFresh?There are some criteria students must meet to qualify for benefits, including income and student requirements. Our CalFresh Outreach Team is happy to help walk you through the process.

Visit us in the Student Services Center 190A to get an eligibility screening and support during the application process. You can also contact us to request more information.

Applying for CalFresh

Why should I apply for CalFresh?Think of CalFresh as financial aid that helps pay for some of your food.

CalFresh allows you to worry less about groceries and stretch your food budget. The EBT card is easy to carry with you as you shop at the grocery store, farmers market, or even on campus.

Check out more CalFresh perks in the Student Resource Guide.

Where can I apply for benefits?Our Chico State CalFresh Outreach Team can support you through the CalFresh application process. Stop by our office in SSC 190A to get started. Walk-ins welcome! Visit if you prefer to apply on your own.

I am currently unhoused and do not have a permanent address. Can I still apply for CalFresh?Yes. We can work with you to apply and determine the most efficient way to work through the process.

I am undocumented. Can I apply for CalFresh?Unfortunately, CalFresh is only available to legal permanent residents and US citizens. However, if you have other household members that do meet the citizenship requirements, you can apply for those household members.

Anyone who needs assistance can visit the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry and Chico State Basic Needs. You can also check the Center for Healthy Communities Facebook Page for a weekly roundup of food assistance available by county and this map of local food resources.

What documents do I need to apply to CalFresh?If you meet eligibility requirements, some of the verifications you might be asked to turn in include:
• Proof of residence (such as lease agreement, mail sent to your address)
• Financial Aid documentation
• Class schedule
• Student ID
• Proof of student status
• Proof of income (if applicable)

Visit our CalFresh Outreach Team in Student Services Center 190A to get support with the application process and for help getting verifications submitted.

Can I apply again if I had CalFresh before?Yes. If you had CalFresh but your benefits have been discontinued for any reason you can reapply.

If it has been less than 60 days, contact your County CalFresh Office to try to rescind your discontinuance.

If it’s been more than 60 days, you can apply for CalFresh again.

What if I started a CalFresh application and need help?Visit our CalFresh Outreach Team in Student Services Center 190A to get support with the application process.

Benefits & Other Details

Will my unused benefits roll over each month?Yes, benefits roll over each month.
• After 135 days of not using your EBT card, the county will stop access to it.
• After 6 months of not using your EBT card, you will need to contact the county to reactivate it.
• After 9 months of not using your EBT card, you will lose all benefits left on your card.

How much will I receive each month?If eligible, you could receive up to $281. The amount students receive varies based on household size, income, and monthly expenses.

Will receiving CalFresh affect my financial aid?No. CalFresh is not considered income, therefore getting CalFresh as a student does not affect your financial aid.

Does receiving CalFresh affect my taxes?No. CalFresh is a benefit you received if you qualify, and it does not affect taxes.

Does financial aid determine the amount I might receive?No. Your financial aid information is only used for CalFresh eligibility purposes, not to determine benefit allotment. Benefits received are based on income and expenses and determined by the county.

Using Your EBT Card

Can I use my EBT card on campus?Yes! Shop at Urban Roots in the Bell Memorial Union, which offers gluten free, paleo, and vegan options, or grab a quick snack at Butte Station near Butte Hall.

More details on where to use your EBT card can be found in the Student Resource Guide.

Where in Chico can I use my benefits?Besides grocery stores and food marts, you can use your benefits at the year-round Farmers’ Markets on Saturdays in downtown Chico and on Wednesdays at North Valley Plaza off East Avenue. And because local farmers markets participate in the Market Match program, your benefits are matched between $10 to $15, doubling your money.

The Chico Natural Food Co-Op in downtown Chico also participates and you can receive 50% off locally grown fruits & vegetables when you use your CalFresh EBT card.

More details on where to use your EBT card can be found in the Student Resource Guide.

Can I still use my benefits during break and summer?Yes, your benefits are not tied to the school year.

What can I purchase with my benefits?• Fruits & vegetables
• Meat, poultry, & fish
• Dairy products
• Breads or cereals
• Start-up edible plants

More details on what you can purchase can be found in the Student Resource Guide.

Stop by! Walk-Ins Are Welcome!

Basic Needs Center, SSC 190A

Stop By & Apply!

Basic Needs Center, SSC 190A

Monday 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Tuesday 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Wednesday 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Thursday 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Friday Closed

Center for Healthy Communities

25 Main St #101, Chico, CA 95926
Chico State CalFresh ©2023

This website is funded by California Department of Social Services, and USDA SNAP.
USDA SNAP is known in California as CalFresh, an equal opportunity provider and employer.
CalFresh is a California State University, Chico Partner

From left to right: CalFresh Logo, California State University Chico Logo, and Center for Healthy Communities Logo