How does the Coronavirus Stimulus Package Affect Students?

By: Kenyan Carter | Contributing Writer

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been staggering. In the U.S. confirmed cases have reached over 250,000 with a death toll over 6,000, according to the John Hopkins University virus research center. 

COVID-1919 is also negatively impacting the economy with a record number of people out of work. In March, more than 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department data. The number of infected and laid-off workers continues to grow by the day.   

In response, President Trump, Congress, and the Senate passed the CARES act. The CARES act is a $2.2 trillion fund to provide relief to individuals, businesses, education providers, and hospitals. This is the third relief bill passed in response to the coronavirus. 

The CARES act is not only the largest relief bill passed, but it is also the only bill to provide direct cash payments to individuals. According to NPR, around $300 billion of relief will be dispersed to individuals, “Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400.” 

A lot of students meet the income criteria for aid but only if theyqualify. So who qualifies? According to Forbes, the stimulus legislation specifically bars payouts for dependents who are at least 17. Additionally, households will not receive the $500 child payments for the older dependents. 

This would affect most full-time students under the age of 24 even if they live mostly at college and pay rent. Lots of students also file as dependents for access to financial aid programs in the FASFA. 

Students are getting some relief in relation to their student loans, however. According to Forbes, “Included in the $2 trillion package is six months of relief for most student borrowers. Their loan payments are suspended—interest-free—through September 30,” Students with questions should contact their loan servicer.