Michigan College students needing food aid will now have a harder time getting it. The state Department of Human Services will take bridge cards away from college students who don’t meet federal guidelines for food assistance.
Some lawmakers say many students who don’t really need the benefits are abusing the program.
Ingham County has the highest number of college students receiving food assistance through the Bridge card program. Michigan State University is in Ingham County.
Nate Smith-Tyge is the Director of the MSU student food bank, a service only for MSU students.
"We’ve seen an increase in the number of people we serve over the past couple of years. You can pretty much tie it directly to the economic downturn we’ve experienced here in Michigan. We do a distribution every other Wednesday, we’ll serve between 275 and 300 people, and that includes students and their dependents."
Allegations of abuse of the program have been largely unsubstantiated. Smth-Tyge says,
"I’d say that there probably is abuse, but I don’t think that you should let the outliers indicate how you determine policy. There is a real demand. We see it on our campus and I’ve talked to people trying to start food-banks from as far away as Schoolcraft Community College in Livonia to people at Grand Valley State and I think there is a real food demand for people as they attend college."
The State Department of Human Services says an unknown number of students will become ineligible for food aid April 15th.
- Sarah Alvarez, Michigan Radio Newsroom