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MDHHS helps low-income college students receive food assistance

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Posted at 11:26 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 11:26:33-04

LANSING, Mich. — According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, around 90,000 low-income college students in the state, who are enrolled in career or technical education programs, are eligible for food assistance benefits through a new initiative that goes into effect this week.

The MDHHS said it has partnered with the Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to implement the initiative in order to combat rising food insecurity among students impact by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Hunger was a problem for students before COVID-19, and it is a far greater challenge today,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Because of this policy change, thousands of students will no longer need to choose between dropping out of school and getting critical food aid. The change will help Michigan students put food on the table in today’s crisis, it will help Michigan be more competitive economically as the economy recovers.”

The MDHHS said until now, students enrolled in qualifying Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, who attended school at least part-time, could not qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), even if they met income eligibility requirements unless they fell into certain categories like working at least 20 hours a week, caring for a child, or were unable to work.

With the new initiative, MDHHS said college students will be eligible for SNAP if they meet income and other program requirements, are enrolled at least part-time in an occupational program that will lead to employment under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act of 2018 known as Perkins V.

The MDHHS said currently the Perkins Postsecondary CTE Program gives funding to 28 community colleges, three public universities and one tribal college in order to support pathways to high-wage, high-skilled and in-demand careers that require less than a bachelor's degree.

In order to qualify, the MDHHS said students must meet all requirements of the Food Assistance Program.

The MDHHS said for anyone who is currently enrolled in a Perkins program with an existing food assistance case, who has experienced a loss in income, will have their caseworker determine Perkins program status to ensure that benefits are correct.

To apply for food assistance, click here.

For more information on the Perkins Postsecondary CTE Program, click here.

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