Georgia college students turning to food stamps

Despite what Newt thinks, “impoverished college student” is usually a redundant phrase, and during the recession, with tuition and fees rising and HOPE Scholarships diminishing, many Georgia students are struggling financially.

WXIA is reporting on a growing trend among these cash-strapped college students: applying for food stamps to help make ends meet. Persons who qualify get $200 a month worth of assistance from the state, which is separate and unrelated to any other financial aid they receive. (Federal financial aid forms—FAFSA—ask students to report on food stamps and other public assistance received, but answers don’t affect eligibility for federal aid.)

The story is short on numbers of students and the amount of money involved, but reporter Jon Shirek plans a follow-up. He notes that Michigan has cut 30,000 students from its food-stamp rolls at a cost savings of $75 million annually.

The timing of the story, coming during the General Assembly session, is interesting. Will it be used as bait for lawmakers to introduce legislation barring college students from receiving food stamps? Or will  state leaders see this practice as legitimate and acceptable? (I suspect that they won’t.)

To read a previously published article (Jan. 24) on the subject in Georgia State University’s Signal, click here.

UPDATE: WXIA has posted the rules for students applying for foodstamps. The state of Georgia requires students to be employed at least 20 hours a week (or fulfill a similar requirement) in addition to taking classes at least half-time, so it’s not a program for slackers.

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