Raise your hand if you consumed copious amounts of Top Ramen in college (mine is shooting into the air). My roommates and I would sometimes make a dinner out of a large tortilla and side of guacamole from Albertos for $1.25. Blue box mac 'n' cheese from the dollar store was another staple of my college diet.
The college diet filled with carbs and sodium is a rite of passage. When days are filled with classes, studying, internships, clubs, jobs, etc., there is little time or money to dedicate to dinner. If there is money, it’s usually saved for beer or gadgets (iPhone, anyone?) or dates or insert-personal-pleasure-of-choice, not apples and low-fat milk.
Until recently, some 30,000 college students in Michigan didn’t have to make do solely with what they could scrounge together themselves. They were on food stamps.
Human Services Director Maura Corrigan cut the kids off in April of this year, saving the bankrupt state $75 million. The move is an effort to end the welfare culture of a state where 1 in 5 people receive food stamps to help make ends meet. In an interview with The Detroit News, Ms. Corrigan said, "Maybe [students] could go get a part-time job -- that's what I did ... we want to encourage people to be self-sufficient, not to be dependent on the government."
Single moms and other students working their way through school (20 hours or more per week) will not be affected.
I’m sure there will be much gnashing of teeth by the poor college kids who -- gasp! -- will now have to figure out how to take care of themselves. I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for them. College is a privilege, not a right. If you weren’t lucky enough to be born with a trust fund, or didn’t work hard enough in high school to earn an academic or merit scholarship, you’re going to have to find a way to pay for it.
Some people choose to skip college altogether, as their priorities lie in areas aside from higher education, like their young family. Some people work their fingers to the bone, so that someday their children will be better off than them. And sometimes, their children grow up to be United States senators.
That’s the dream. Working hard to achieve something worthwhile, so that our children’s lives may be richer than our own. The dream is not trying to figure out how to scam the government out of $150 a month because it makes life a little easier.
Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr