LANSING — Michigan college students enrolled in career and technical education programs are now eligible to receive food assistance if they meet other requirements.
The Michigan Departments of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are encouraging students to apply by developing a new initiative to address food insecurity among students made worse by COVID-19.
According to the state, there are close to 16,000 students enrolled in CTE programs that would qualify for the benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Susan Corbin, acting director of the LEO, said that this is the time to encourage low-income students to apply.
“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,” she said. “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.
MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said that keeping food on Michigan tables is a priority.
“MDHHS was already working to help more people put nutritious food on the table prior to the pandemic,” she said. “COVID-19 made this priority even more critical. Due to the pandemic, many students lost their jobs. As a result, they lost their SNAP eligibility through no fault of their own.”
Students 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 21st Century Act of 2018, known as Perkins V.
CTE students who enroll in SNAP benefits now can take advantage of the additional payment provided each month until June.
Students interested in applying for food assistance can go to Michigan.gov/MIBridges.
Verification of enrollment in a Perkins program must be provided by the student or may be requested from the post-secondary institution.