Students outraged by this loophole in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package
Among the provisions getting the most scrutiny is the lack of financial assistance for some college students.
Just days after Congress passed the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, new details of the legislation are emerging.
Details of the $2 trillion stimulus package continue to emerge after it was signed into law Friday by President Donald Trump, and now, Campus Reform has learned of how the massive piece of legislation will impact college students - or not.
While most single tax-filing Americans making less than $75,000 per year and couples making less than $150,000 per year can expect to receive checks in the coming weeks for $1,200 and $2,400, respectively, plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 18.
Among those Americans who won't be receiving checks, however, are many college students- millions of them. Because of this provision, students who are already financially independent of their parents - that is, those who are not claimed by their parents as dependents and file their own tax returns, stand to benefit over their peers who are financially dependent by $1,200.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, college students who are at least 18 but claimed as dependents by their parents will not receive a check because they did not file taxes themselves. But even though their parents may support them financially, their parents won't receive a check for them either, since they are older than the designated cut off age of 17.
Travis Rawson, West Virginia University Student Government Association president pro-tempore, weighed in on Twitter regarding the loophole.
Congress just excluded one of the poorest demographics from the largest economic stimulus package in the history of the world.
"I’m sick to my stomach. Congress just excluded one of the poorest demographics from the largest economic stimulus package in the history of the world," Rawson wrote, adding that college students who are claimed by their parents as dependents get "absolutely nothing."
"I would love to know the reasoning behind this. Why are dependents under 17 receiving $500 while 18-24 year old dependents receive $0? Why would they completely exclude one of the most financially vulnerable populations in this country when they are spending TWO TRILLION DOLLARS?" Rawson added.
I would love to know the reasoning behind this. Why are dependents under 17 receiving $500 while 18-24 year old dependents receive $0? Why would they completely exclude one of the most financially vulnerable populations in this country when they are spending TWO TRILLION DOLLARS?
— Trævis (@twrawson) March 27, 2020
Other self-identified college students also voiced their frustration with the recently passed law.
So you’re telling me a struggling college student does not get a stimulus check, because of our parents claiming us on their taxes, and not only that, but our parents can’t receive any money for us because we’re over 17. The government just majorly fucked college students.
— Jarrett (@jarrrretttt) March 27, 2020
I’m a first gen college student that fully funds his education and you’re telling me, bc I am claimed as a dependent I can’t benefit from the stimulus check? Lol fuck this economy.
— Carlos (@cmhvisualss) March 28, 2020
The fact that the 18-24 yr old range is exempt from getting a stimulus check (if you’re still a dependent on your parents’ taxes) is sickening. College students, especially those on work study, are unemployed and still pay rent.
— Luke Perrin (@glukeperrin) March 26, 2020
i’m a college student who’s parents still claim as a dependant. yet i pay my own car and phone insurance, along with my car payment, gas, and maintenance/living fees. tell me why I WON’T QUALIFY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS PACKAGE.
— l o l a (@Makala49980191) March 29, 2020
These details emerged as Campus Reform has reported on colleges' decisions whether or not to issue refunds to college students who were asked, or in some cases forced, to move out of their campus housing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While many colleges were initially slow to say so, the majority of schools included in a Campus Reform analysis, say they will either refund or credit students for the latter half of the spring semester room and board costs.
“Legislation is never perfect and always involves trade-offs,” Senate Finance Committee spokesman Michael Zona told the Wall Street Journal. “That is especially true of emergency legislation in the midst of a crisis. Using existing mechanisms already in place saves time when every moment matters.”
But just because students were not included among the recipients of checks in the most recent legislation does not mean they're completely out of luck. Multiple members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have already called for a Phase 4 coronavirus relief package.
In fact, Pelosi told reporters Monday that House Democrats are already writing new legislation, according to Politico.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, on the other hand, urged his Democratic colleague not to put the cart before the horse.
“I would hope anybody that’s talking about a phase four would pause right now. Let’s make sure this is actually working in the process and be smart, get the data back of where—if—we do need more help," McCarthy said.