New initiative offers food assistance to low-income college students in Michigan

Students enrolled in eligible programs can receive SNAP benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic


LANSING, Mich. – Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Labor and Economic Opportunity announced Tuesday a new initiative to provide low-income college students with food assistance benefits amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Beginning this week, college students will be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits if they meet certain requirements and are enrolled at least part-time in a program that leads to employment under the Perkins Postsecondary Career & Technical Education.

Previously, students enrolled in qualifying Career and Technical Education programs at least part-time could not qualify for SNAP benefits even if they met the income requirements, unless they were caring for a child, unable to work or working at least 20 hours a week, officials said.

“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.”

Officials say about 90,000 low-income college students in Michigan will be eligible to receive benefits under this new initiative. SNAP benefits in Michigan are administered through the Michigan Food Assistance program.

Students enrolled in eligible programs can apply for benefits here. Verification of enrollment in eligible programs will be required.


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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.