Most College-Aged Individuals Left out of Coronavirus Stimulus Package

Photo of the Capitol Building from Wikimedia Commons 

Sean Newhouse 
Online Editor-in-Chief

Junior communication major (and Flyer News staff writer) Shayleigh Frank was laid off as a server at the Milano’s on Brown Street about a week after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brown Street restaurant initially offered to retrain employees to do carry-out, but her supervisors later said there were too many workers and not enough customer demand for takeout. 

President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package into law last week to minimize the disastrous economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the American public and businesses. Most U.S. adults, albeit with a litany of exceptions, will receive $1,200 and an additional $500 for each qualifying child as part of the package. 

But Shayleigh, and most University of Dayton students, will not be getting a $1,200 check from the government. In fact, her parents, and most UD parents, will not be getting an extra $500 either. Here’s why:

For starters, dependents are not eligible for their own aid. (Dependents are what parents typically list their children as when they do their taxes. College-aged individuals are generally still dependents.) 

But shouldn’t parents of college-aged individuals get an extra $500 then? Nope. 

Qualifying children can only be 16 or younger. Why?

When they were crafting the package, Congress used the same criteria for the direct payments as the child tax credit.(Many parents get some tax relief through this credit). The tax credit expires when the child turns 17.  

Due to these policies, most college-aged individuals, and some high school students, are left out of the trillion-dollar stimulus package.

Thankfully, Shayleigh still has a paid internship through UD that she can complete online, even though she is working less hours than usual. And she is living with her parents, so she said that she’s not experiencing any significant financial difficulty. 

While she wasn’t expecting to get a direct check from the government, she was surprised that her parents aren’t getting anything extra for her. 

“Wow…I live with them. They, you know, they take care of me,” she said. “That kind of sucks.”

Senior Emma Scovill, who is the oldest in her family, said her parents aren’t getting an extra $500 for her or her two siblings because they’re all 17 or older. Her dad, however, isn’t worried because his job is secure, although, he said he didn’t completely understand the age cutoff. 

Scovill said her dad would prefer that the stimulus money only go to unemployed individuals and struggling businesses. 

Harris Poll found in a survey that older members of Gen Z, individuals ages seven to 22, are three times more likely to report losing their jobs or being put on temporary leave due to the coronavirus pandemic. The researchers attribute this to the large number of Gen Z individuals who work in service jobs for restaurants and businesses that have had to shut down.

A then-record-breaking 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment two weeks ago, and last week a record-breaking 6.6 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment.  

Certain industries that have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic will receive $500 billion in stimulus aid. Hospitals are getting $100 billion, and colleges and universities are set to receive $14 billion.

At one point during congressional negotiations, there was a Democrat-backed proposal to have the federal government pay $10,000 toward every borrower’s student loan debt, which would have effectively reduced every student loan borrower’s debt by that amount. It didn’t make it into the final package. 

The package does, however, allow individuals who are paying off their student debt to “get a break” from monthly payments through Sept. 30, 2020. Interest accrued during the suspension would also be waived. 

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