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Low-income college students in Michigan can apply for food assistance

668,000 will lose food stamp benefits under new work rules
Posted at 12:07 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 13:33:38-05

(WXYZ) — Low-income college students enrolled in career and technical education programs in Michigan can apply for food assistance.

The Michigan Departments of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Health and Human Services are encouraging students to apply for food assistance benefits online at Michigan.gov/MIBridges.

LEO and MDHHS developed the initiative in 2020 to address rising food insecurity among students that has been made worse by COVID-19.

State officials say close to 16,000 low-income college students in Michigan who are enrolled in career and technical education programs are eligible to receive food assistance benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“As many CTE students are back on their campuses, what better time to encourage them to take advantage of critical resources that will support their lives as they prepare for high-demand, critical job openings,” said LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin in a press release. “These SNAP benefits will help them focus on their educational needs and prepare for a successful future.”

Previously, college students enrolled in qualifying CTE programs who attended school at least half-time could not qualify for SNAP benefits, even if they met income eligibility requirements, unless they fell into certain categories such as working at least 20 hours per week, caring for a child, or being unable to work.

College students in Michigan are eligible for SNAP if they meet income and other program requirements and are enrolled at least half-time in an occupational program that leads to employment under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the Twenty-First Century Act of 2018 known as Perkins V.

Additionally, CTE college students who enroll in SNAP can take advantage of an additional payment provided each month until June, which amounts to an extra 15% to help recipients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Perkins Postsecondary Career and Technical Education Program provides funding to 28 community colleges, three public universities and one tribal college to support pathways to high-wage, high-skilled, and in-demand careers that require less than a bachelor’s degree.

For anyone currently enrolled in a Perkins program with an existing food assistance case who has experienced a loss of income, their MDHHS caseworker will determine Perkins program status to ensure the benefits are correct.

Any Perkins student who wants to apply for food assistance should provide documentation from their school that outlines their major and program or course of study to assist in determining their eligibility for SNAP.