The Master of Social Welfare and Juris Doctorate graduate degree programs were recently approved as CalFresh local student programs. Students in these programs still need to meet income guidelines, but no longer need to meet the hourly work requirement to be eligible for benefits. In the past few months, five UC Berkeley graduate programs have been approved by the California Department of Social Services. The Graduate Team at the Basic Needs Center is working to get more programs approved to further expand access to graduate students.

Additionally, temporary changes have been made to the CalFresh student eligibility requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are now encouraged to apply to CalFresh if they: 1) are eligible for state or federally financed work study or 2) have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0. Before these changes, students had to be approved for work study and anticipate working. The new rules expand access to students who are work study eligible. The changes are effective until the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted. For more information, check our California Department of Social Service’s FAQ document.

To learn more about CalFresh and how to apply, visit