Federal relief bill fails to cover all college students

As an international pandemic continues, businesses and institutions are temporarily (hopefully, but already not the case for some) closing their doors and individuals filing for unemployment is on the rise to record numbers in U.S. economic history, a relief bill issued by the federal government on March 25 created in order to ease those who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 virus will not be covering everyone in its $2 trillion stimulus package, distributing payments related to individuals’ tax filings.

Many college students across the nation will not see a relief payment from the government in order to accommodate for possible income or job loss due to stipulations placed in the bill or the way the student has filed their income tax returns. 

College students are among the many individuals who may not receive a relief payment due to these stipulations include but are not limited to those 17 and older who have been claimed as a dependent by their parent(s) when filing, individuals who do not have a social security number and some disabled adults.

A majority of college students and those alike when filing their income tax returns are typically filed as dependents of their parent(s) and in turn, if they were, will not receive the relief payment proposed up to $1,200. Their parent(s) will also not receive an extra $500 included in their relief payment for claiming this dependence because of the stipulations set which only grant this extra amount if the dependent is under the age of 17.

News sources across the nation such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News continue to report the gaps found in the federal relief bill and what challenges individuals who are affected by this are currently facing. 

“And the federal government’s $2 trillion aid package offers little hope, because students whose parents claim them as dependents on their taxes don’t qualify for relief checks. Congress did earmark nearly $7 billion for emergency grants to college students, but it’s unclear when schools, tasked with disbursing that aid, will receive the money from the Education Department. And some schools are lobbying to take a cut for themselves,” wrote Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and Lauren Lumpkin in the April 9 Washington Post article, “Low-income college students are counting on federal aid, but who will get it — and when?”

Like the many others in this situation, students at Hastings College who will not receive a relief payment may have been counting on some sort of accommodation as they may be included in the millions of individuals whose positions have been furloughed or cut during the pandemic. 

Due to campus closure, many HC students are without income received from on-campus jobs, or their jobs at home have ended as well due to business closures. 

It is unclear at this time if accommodations, either through HC or governmental aid, will be made for those experiencing a loss in income that may greatly affect their income, educational and living situations, among other things.