U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch is pushing U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for a plan to disburse roughly $7 billion to college students via a recently approved federal relief package.
Congress approved the CARES Act to offer financial assistance amid the economic slowdown caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Monday, Deutch authored a letter to DeVos seeking a status update on how a portion of that money will be sent to students.
Deutch notes the bill “provides roughly $14 billion to our institutions of higher education. It requires these schools to provide at least half of the funds they receive, or $7 billion, to students through emergency financial aid grants.
“I am writing to learn what the Department is doing to ensure that this $7 billion quickly gets into the hands of these students, who urgently need the assistance. These funds are of particular importance because they provide the only opportunity to date for direct payments to many of our college students.”
Deutch notes that college-aged students who can be claimed as a dependent are not eligible for the $1,200 per person payout established under the CARES Act.
“On top of this, their parents have been excluded from receiving the $500 recovery rebate being provided for most dependent children,” Deutch continued.
“This is despite the fact that most students have been sent home from campus at their own expense, and many have lost their jobs. As a result of leaving campus, many have also lost access to their school-provided food, housing, childcare, and other necessities.”
The Congressman from Florida’s 22nd Congressional District said he will seek direct payout for those college-aged students as Congress negotiates additional relief bills.
But for now, Deutch is asking DeVos how the department plans to disburse the emergency financial aid grants and how oversight on those funds will be conducted.
“While dramatic action is necessary to make access to college more affordable in America, there is a way to provide immediate relief to students struggling amidst this global pandemic,” Deutch wrote in closing.
“Your leadership at this moment is critical in helping to meet those needs. College students and their families eagerly await your response and action.”