College students slip through the cracks of the federal stimulus package

by Emma Smith and Pulse Staff

The largest emergency aid package in United States history leaves out millions of college students like Triston Novak, a junior physical therapy major at the University of Findlay.

“I find it ridiculous that I am not receiving any type of stimulus,” Novak said. “I pay my taxes and I have self-sustained mostly since after turning 18.”

On March 27 the House of Representatives passed a $2 trillion economic relief package that attempts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal started in the Senate where it was passed unanimously.

According to congress.gov H.R. 748-the CARES act provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations for federal agencies to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Among other provisions it also provides tax rebates of up to $1,200 per individual and an additional $500 per child, subject to limits based on adjusted gross income. However, the $500 per child is only for dependents under 17. This leaves out millions of college students who are claimed by their parents. It also leaves out the parents who would otherwise pass the $500 on their college student.

This is frustrating news for many college students, like Novak.

“My mom, who has a lower income, claims me on taxes in order for me to have a better FAFSA package,” Novak said. “She does not provide 50% of my expenses. I commute from home with my dad. He probably provides close to 50% of my expenses as of right now, but that is mostly from housing.”

Much like many Americans at this time, his part time job has cut hours dramatically due to the stay-at-home order issued by the state of Ohio. He didn’t get any hours last week. Being a teaching assistant for the university biology department is his main source of income during the school year. So, he is really taking a hit with the lack of hours he is receiving due to the switch to remote learning the university began on March 16.

Like many others, Novak has expenses that he will need to take care of, without the stimulus package that others are receiving.

“I get claimed as a dependent, but without the FAFSA package I wouldn’t be able to afford going to college. My source of income is now almost gone and I don’t know how long it will be until I have dependable income again,” Novak said. “Not only that, my family wouldn’t receive extra money in their stimulus because I’m too old for it.”

“That seems counterintuitive to me,” Novak said. “I believe working, tax paying students deserve financial stimulus as much as any citizen.”

The government has said that possibly more stimulus packages will be released if COVID-19 continues to halt America’s workers.

The University of Findlay has started a student emergency fund. The website states “Many students were working part-time jobs to pay for their education and living expenses, but are now without work; others must leave their places of employment to care for family members. The situations are varied and growing in number.”

UF Communication and Design Specialist Natasha Hanshaw-Lancaster says in an email with the Pulse that the university is still fine tuning the program.

These details are still being worked out and I hope to have more information about it in the next week or so,” said Hanshaw-Lancaster.

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