State's new eligibility rules to save $75M; more students got aid than thought
Michigan has removed about 30,000 college students from its food stamp program - close to double the initial estimate - saving about $75 million a year, says Human Services Director Maura Corrigan.
Federal rules don't allow most college students to collect food stamps, but Michigan had created its own rules that made nearly all students eligible, said Brian Rooney, Corrigan's deputy director. As a result, the number of Michigan college students on this form of welfare made the state a national leader. For example, Michigan had 10 times the number of students on food stamps as either Illinois or California, Rooney said.
Cutting off the students is part of what Corrigan says is an effort to change the culture of the state's welfare department and slash tens of millions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse.
"Maybe (students) could go get a part-time job - that's what I did," said Corrigan, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court who attended Detroit's Marygrove College and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
"We want to encourage people to be self-sufficient, not to be dependent on the government," she said in an interview with The Detroit News
.But critics say state funding has shrunk and tuition has skyrocketed since Corrigan attended college in the late '60s and early '70s.
They cite Michigan's still-battered economy and say the suffering the cuts will create won't be apparent until after cash-strapped students return to campuses this fall.