Millions of Americans were anxiously awaiting the arrival of stimulus checks this weekend as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tweeted checks have hit eligible checking accounts in record time. However, there’s one audience the unprecedented stimulus checks did not reach--college students. Many students are claimed as dependents on their parent’s 2018 tax returns, yet they are still seeking a financial safety net from campus closures and job loss due to the Coronavirus. College students have not been overlooked by the United States government. A $6.28 billion, cash grant total was announced last week in a U.S. Department of Education press release. Under this new order colleges are required to use the cash grant funding to help students with expenses such as: • Course materials • Technology • Housing• Food • Healthcare • ChildcareIt’s up to the individual colleges to determine which students will receive the emergency grants and to create a cash distribution plan. The totals distributed to each applicable university vary and are set by a government determined formula. The U.S. Department of Education adds, “[the formula] is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the Coronavirus outbreak.” If interested, you can look up your college's approved emergency-grant total. In a letter to college and university presidents, United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, addresses the importance of getting money into the hands of college students impacted by COVID-19, education disruptions—stressing a minimum of 50 percent of the funds accolated to each college and university is to be strictly used for emergency student aid. DeVos’ letter adds, “I would like to encourage the leadership of each institution to prioritize your students with the greatest need, but at the same time consider establishing a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible.”
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