Apr 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The stimulus package has a college gap

A college student unpacking.
Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Congress’ CARES Act will send one-time relief checks to most Americans. But many adults who are tax dependents won’t get a cut of the more than $300 billion set to be distributed in direct payments.

Yes, but: Adults who can be claimed as dependents on another person's tax return don't qualify either for the $1,200 checks or for the $500 add-on for each child.

  • That means almost 30 million Americans are excluded from the legislation, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center tells the Dallas Morning News.
  • Many college students, people under the age of 24 whose parents pay for at least half their expenses, adults with disabilities and some seniors are among those excluded.

But, the coronavirus outbreak will still hit college students and young workers hard economically:

  • People under age 24 make up nearly a quarter of industries at higher risk of job losses, according to a Pew analysis.
  • Millions of college students living on campuses have been told to go home. But not all of them have a home to return to, and some depend on student meal plans.
  • It's still unclear how some colleges will refund students who paid for tuition under the expectation that they would take in-person classes, plus other college expenses like housing and dining plans.

Of note: The act does provide that people don't have to repay federal student loans until after Sept. 30 and interest on payments is waived until that date.

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