During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Americans should be able to find comfort in the knowledge that their government is working to return their country to normalcy. On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package to help stop the bleeding of the American economy.
Whether or not you agree that the president’s actions have been satisfactory, this stimulus package will undeniably bring some relief to American citizens. That is, if you’re not a college student.
The stimulus package provides $300 billion that will be sent to Americans in the form of a check for $1,200.
Many college students, however, are filed as dependents under their parents during tax season, since college students theoretically rely on their parents for support. If your parents claim you as a dependent or they pay for at least half of your expenses and you’re under the age of 24, you will not qualify for a stimulus check. This is a bad deal for students.
Yes, some college students are supported financially by their parents, but most are working hard to put themselves through college. A 2018 report from Georgetown University found that 70 percent of full-time college students are working to put themselves through college and that low-income students are more likely to work full time than higher-income students.
Due to COVID-19, many of these students are now jobless, and others do not have parents who are able or willing to help, despite their dependent tax status.
College-age students have long experienced real financial hardships, even before COVID-19 jeopardized our economy. A national survey of nearly 86,000 students conducted in 2019 by The Hope Center, a research group focused on college students’ needs, reported that 45 percent of college students experienced food insecurity meaning that they were not able to provide themselves with nutritionally adequate and safe food.
The same study also reported that 56 percent of college students were not able to secure an adequate housing situation in 2018 and were either homeless or housing insecure.
Thankfully, student debt and interest payments have been frozen until Sept. 30, but what does this mean for students out of a job who are still expected to pay bills like rent and car insurance?
There is no reason college students should be left out of the stimulus relief. Congress should appropriate additional money to send checks to adult dependents like college students.
Nicholas Cousineau is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism.