College students in Riverside County encouraged to apply for CalFresh benefits

Riverside County officials are encouraging college students struggling with food and housing insecurity to apply for CalFresh, a program that can help them stretch their food budgets and eat healthier.

Officials said that nearly 40,000 college students across the county are now eligible but less than 10 percent have signed up.

How to apply:

Signing up involves checking on eligibility criteria and filling out an online application. If approved, the student will receive the food benefit within 30 days. Students who feel they might qualify can ask for assistance through their college campus or can apply online directly at

“We want to make sure our local students know this help is available. They should not have to worry about being able to afford their next meal,” Gonzalez said. “Our caseworkers are ready to see if they are eligible and enroll them.” 

Students who qualify for CalFresh receive a monthly benefit of $234, enough for about 60 jars of peanut butter. 

“This resource definitely helps me to live independently and eat healthy,” said Kalayah Wilson, a a third-year undergraduate at UC Riverside. “It has motivated me to learn new recipes and try organic food items.”

Top five colleges with highest CalFresh participation:

  • Riverside City College District: 669
  • Mt. San Jacinto College: 467
  • UC Riverside: 436
  • College of the Desert: 216
  • CSU San Bernardino: 165

Source: Riverside County DPSS, March 2021

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