College students have been kicked out of their housing, laid off from their jobs and have had their schoolwork demands raised. Not to mention, college students still have bills to pay, and under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) most college students won’t receive a nickel of aid.
The relief aid package states that qualifying adults will receive one-time stimulus payments of $1,200 plus an additional $500 per child. However, dependents over the age of 16 will receive nothing. According to PEW analysis, people under 24 are at a higher risk of losing their jobs as a result of the coronavirus than any other group. Regardless of employment, being a full-time student and/or having bills to pay, any college student who is claimed on their parent’s taxes is ineligible for a stimulus check. Also, the parents of college students who are claimed on their taxes will not receive the additional $500. Because most American college students are claimed as dependents, this excludes the majority of students from aid.
This means that many students have been kicked out, and told to go home, even if they don’t have a home to go to. Many of them have lost their meal plans, even if they relied on them to survive. Many of them are out of work, even if they still have bills due. And most of them can’t look to the American government for help. Simply put, many of these students are on their own. While some may have family and friends to fall back on, others don’t have a place to turn.
With no end to the financial damage done as a result of the coronavirus in sight, many students are living in limbo. Aside from the virus itself, which has caused mass hysteria, student’s lives have been turned upside down. Amidst all of this, students are asked to register for the next two semesters worth of classes. With summer and fall classes in a state of confusion, students aren’t able to use their best judgment. Many universities already don’t have the class capacities, course sections offered and/or professors needed to fulfill the class needs of their student body. So, students don’t have the choice to wait it out. If they wait, then they are likely to lose their spot.
This is a stressful time for college students, but for many of them the expectation is to move forward as if their needs have been met, when, in reality, their needs haven’t been met. Decency is supposed to matter. However, money and decency don’t always coexist. Maybe the next time that congress affectionately coins an act the “CARES Act,” it should actually involve care to all age groups in need.