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Michigan announces food assistance for some college students


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced  a new program on Thursday to help college students get food assistance.

The new state program would expand food assistance to some 16,000 students enrolled in career and technical education programs.

Students enrolled at least half time in an occupational program who meet income requirements would be eligible

Bob Wheaton is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He said the new program will be especially helpful to students who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Food assistance normally requires employment for eligibility.

“There were limitations for college student requirements that they work a certain number of hours to receive food assistance,” he said. “This is important because there are a number of college students who are no longer able to meet those requirements due to losing their job from COVID-19.”

A report from the Michigan League for Public Policy found that in the spring over half of college students nationally experienced either home or food insecurity.

The report used survey data from colleges and universities in 26 states including Michigan.

Peter Ruark is with the Michigan League for Public Policy, which released the report.

“We’re seeing 44% of community college students and 38% of students at four-year universities are experiencing some level of food insecurity,” he said.

The report also outlined disproportionate housing and food insecurity based on race. 33% of white students were food insecure compared with 58% of black students.

Ruark said he’d like to see Michigan put more funding towards providing food assistance for college students.

You can find out more about the state's food assistance program here.