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New California law expands access to CalFresh benefits for students

Food Stamps
Posted at 2:13 PM, Oct 14, 2022

The SLO Food Bank and its hunger relief network are celebrating the signing of a new state law designed to provide hunger relief to struggling college students.

Governor Newsom recently signed SB 641 CalFresh for College Students Act into law, which will continue to remove barriers for college students seeking CalFresh food assistance.

SLO Food Bank’s Neighborhood Food Distribution at Cal Poly saw the largest participation ever at beginning of the most recent quarter.

The SLO Cuesta College distribution has doubled since August 2022 when students were returning for the semester, now serving over 110 households.

Diane Limon, a CalWORKs Specialist at Cuesta College and the site leader for the Neighborhood Food Distribution at Paso Robles, attributes this uptick in participation to an increase in students’ cost of living, often putting them in the position to choose between their academic needs and their food budget.

Existing federal law exempts many otherwise income-eligible college students from participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

According to studentsagainsthunger, research shows that approximately one in four college students experience hunger and need easier access to food benefits.

SB 641 widened the criteria for students to qualify for CalFresh, making more students eligible for these critical benefits and removing barriers to their participation.  

To find out if you qualify for CalFresh visit GetCalFresh.org or call 1-877-847-3663.