The announcement of a second stimulus came as exciting news as most Americans were eligible to receive one. Except for a demographic of people who need it most: college students. Now that another round of stimulus checks are going out, dependent college students are faced with the harsh reality that they won’t receive financial relief once again.
Per the second stimulus package requirements, only dependent students under the age of 17 would be getting a check. Individuals who are eligible to receive a stimulus check must meet an adjusted gross income requirement and be a tax filer. According to Accuchex payroll & workforce management, less than half, about 45%, of the 2.6 million hourly workers earning at or below the federal minimum were in the 16 to 24 age range. The fact that a traditional student aged between the ages of 18-21 and works for minimum wage, isn’t included in the relief not once but twice is devastating.
The life of a college student is already complicated, being stuck somewhere between considered a child and an adult, not only by parents but the government as well. College students can be claimed as dependents through taxes; however, are still not able to receive any economic impact payments.
Full-time students are responsible for all class materials such as computers, books, access codes, housing, food, transportation, and much more. Some are fortunate to have parents that help relieve the financial burden while others take full responsibility for these entities with minimal or no outside support. Any additional financial help is greatly appreciated.
Students across the nation expressed their feelings on Twitter. @cteresa913 tweeted, “I love how college students are always opt out for a stimulus check, yet we’re probably the most broke demographic.”
Dependent students like any other demographic suffered from job loss and a decrease in income as a result of COVID-19. Some even work more than one job and fully support themselves financially. Those who were able to keep their jobs, particularly those considered essential workers, continued to work for minimum wage while potentially being exposed to the virus. It seems as though the only people who believe college students don’t deserve a check, are the ones passing the legislation.
“There are about 13.5 million adult dependents in the US: A majority (54 percent) are students and around 20 percent are disabled adults.While they fall within a range of income categories, an analysis by the people policy project think tank determined that the approximately 2.3 million adult dependents who fall into the lowest income category won’t receive a $600 check,” Terry Nguyen wrote in a Vox article.
The question remains as to why the demographic that has particularly low income was debarred from the stimulus payments. There is a satisfactory solution that could ensure dependents will receive the relief funds.
The advice given by a Tax Guide suggests a compromise. “They could receive the $1,200 stimulus amount as a tax credit next year if parents do not claim them as a dependent for 2020 and if they file their own individual tax return.” It will be a delayed payment but this way students have the opportunity to receive what was urgently needed during the actual pandemic.