The CARES Act, passed Congress last Friday, offered aid in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to many U.S. citizens, but left out one group: college students who are claimed as dependents.
Recognizing this issue, College Democrats of America has released a statement asking Congress to “pass another relief package that addresses the needs of college students.”
Jaia Clingham-David, Cornell Democrats president, told The Sun about the Cornell chapter’s support for the movement to “provide aid to college students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”
College students not claimed as dependents are eligible for the full $1,200 as long as they are legal residents and have some source of income. Families with children under the age of 17 are eligible to receive $500 per child from the federal government.
This leaves out college students who are claimed as dependents. Many students fall in this last group, as the dependent category, according to the Internal Revenue Service, includes students who are under 24 years old and do not provide over half of their financial support.
Although these students may be classified as a dependent under the tax definition, many college students stand to lose paid internships, part-time jobs and other financial opportunities in this crisis.
“Many students face a huge financial burden after losing their on-campus income and housing benefits, and we applaud the work by CDA and state federations of College Democrats to lobby for federal support for college students,” Clingham-David said.
Matt Nowling – the National Director of Communications of CDA and a junior at Denison University – acknowledged that the relief bill does provide funding for universities and loan forgiveness programs, but it ”doesn’t go far enough to protect the financial security of students.”
One of the most pressing issues for students is housing.
“A lot of us [students] are not receiving refunds for on campus housing, but still have to pay for tuition,” Nowling said.
“The solution that we’re arguing for is directly aiding college students claimed as dependents through a tax rebate,” Nowling said, emphasizing the need for additional legislation to be included in the CARES Act.
Nowling stated that one of the first steps is “informing our members on this recent stimulus package, because a lot of students thought they were going to be included [when they are not].”
The College Democrats of America hopes to get the attention of Congress by urging its members to call local representatives on the issue.