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Low-Income Parents and Access to Education
CEW supports opportunities for low-income parents to complete degrees at UM and other colleges throughout the state. CEW is a founding member of CFITE–the Coalition for Independence Through Education–a state-wide organization of college faculty and administrators, student parents, legal advocates and others who support welfare recipients' access to college. The Coalition’s efforts are based on extensive research showing that completion of post-secondary education increases welfare recipients’ wages and benefits much more rapidly than does work experience.
For the past decade, policies in Michigan and the U.S. have made it very difficult for welfare recipients to attend college and work the number of hours required by the state.
CEW research demonstrates how Michigan could save money by allowing parents who receive assistance to finish college degrees so they can get good, stable jobs–ones which no longer require them to ask for cash assistance, health insurance and child care subsidies from the state. In 2004, the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth issued its own report calling for increased access to college for all Michigan residents.
At the local level, CEW initiates periodic meetings among representatives of Washtenaw County colleges and universities, the Center for Civil Justice, the Department of Human Services and the Michigan Works Agency in order to increase cooperation in supporting recipients of public benefits in achieving higher education.
If you receive public assistance and wish to attend college, know your rights.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the federal cash assistance (welfare) program for poor families, is due to be reauthorized by Congress in 2010. Congress has begun holding hearings, and many advocates–knowing that education is the most effective and sustainable way to lift families out of poverty–are mobilizing to encourage Congress to permit more access to higher education for welfare recipients. Legal Momentum is spearheading this effort.
Information on locating your legislators and crafting a message.