Water with a side of water

Michigan government cracking down on Bridge Card use

On Feb. 9, almost every college student in Michigan uttered a choice four-letter word.

In an announcement by State Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, Michigan college students found out that once April rolls around, up to 20,000 students will have their Bridge Cards become obsolete due to a crackdown on wasteful government spending and welfare abuse by well-off college students.

With it being as easy as filling out the application to qualify for $200 a month in welfare, college students often take advantage of the extra money for food expenses.

But as this topic is already heating up around the college circuit, I think the cases of abuse and misuse of the Bridge Cards overshadows the cases of students who actually depend on the money for food.

From my own personal situation, I don’t know what I would do without my Bridge Card.

Now, I know there are the cases where you see a jackass driving a brand-new SUV strolling around the store buying New York strip steaks on government money, but for those of us who use it responsibly, it’s going to hurt.

I’ve had my Bridge Card for two years and I really don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have it last year. I made around only $60 every two weeks as a staff writer last year and trust me, after filling up my gas tank and a phone bill, I didn’t have anything left for food.

I remember the first couple weeks of the semester last year were brutal, as I waited for a month to get my Bridge Card and felt too proud to ask my parents for money. Ramen Noodles became a delicacy for me at that point.

While I make slightly more this year as a sports editor (you don’t go into journalism to make money), I am more financially stable than a year ago. If I didn’t have my Bridge Card this year, I still would have been in a tough spot.

Like a sizeable cross-section of students here, I don’t have parents who are terribly wealthy. So asking them for food money is something I hesitate to do.

So as the state looks to crackdown on Bridge Card abuse by college students, I think that while it’s a good idea in theory, not all college students should pay for the stupidity of a small group of abusers.

I believe that if you make under $400 a month, it should still be acceptable to have a Bridge Card. So until a compromise can be reached, the students who really need the help will be left out in the cold on April for the negligence
of a few. n