How the $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Plan Affects Students

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Rebecca Meghani | Contributing Writer

On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden announced his American Rescue Plan as a solution to the crisis in America brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic has continued for the past year, this economic stress has affected citizens’ lives in many ways.

To rescue the suffering nation, President Biden introduced this plan to build the economy back up. He states how his intention is to provide support to individuals and communities alike. On March 10, the House passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

Focusing directly on colleges and universities, in total, about $21.2 billion will be given to public and nonprofit colleges and universities coming from this bill. This money is coming from the U.S. Department of Education under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. This fund provides aid to colleges and students that are in need of relief.

The legislation states that a portion of these funds must be used to implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress COVID-19 in accordance with public health guidelines and not be used to support capital projects and to provide emergency grants to financial aid applicants.

As stated in the CARES Act, the financial aid grants should be provided to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses. As for practices that can be implemented, the CDC guidelines include protecting each other by participating in virtual learning, applying and supporting strict adherence to schedules on campus and regularly scheduled cleaning and disinfection. Along with that, according to the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, our school is able to expand access to testing and effectively distribute tests.

There has been no confirmation as to how much money GC will be receiving from this bill. According to GC’s Finance and Administration Division, they are still awaiting final guidance on how the funds can be used.

Though there is no official confirmation, using formulas based on relative shares of students receiving Federal Pell Grants, GC may receive close to $6.2 million.

Part of The American Rescue Plan bill is delivering $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals to give them relief in this crisis. Adult dependents qualify for the stimulus if they are a single adult who reported $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income on their 2019 or 2020 tax return. These funds can be and have been used for people’s personal needs that all differ from each other.

“My plan is just to save it for emergencies since I have a job now and to build my savings account back up. I’ll also use it to pay rent,” stated Elijah Byrd, a sophomore English major. Another student, Jessie Butler, a sophomore accounting major, has slightly different plans for her stimulus.

“I’m using the stimulus check to pay for school, paying off my credit card bill and putting some of the money to pay for my Miami trip,” Butler explained.

Similar to Butler, Taylor Strickland has a similar plan.

“I’m paying my last four months of rent with it. I owed $1,300 total for rent for the rest of my lease so the stimulus definitely helped me out with that,” Strickland stated.

In this time of crisis, it’s important that students are aware of the developments occurring around them because of how they will be affected by it. To the problems that have been occurring, on personal and national scales, solutions are being provided to stabilize individuals’ accounts. In the near future students will be able to benefit from the aid that will be provided to GC under The American Rescue Plan.