Dependent students will be eligible for stimulus checks in new support plan

The American Rescue Plan seeks to include adult dependents in the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks

Students who have been claimed as dependents will be eligible for stimulus checks under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

This proposed $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan will include payments to adult dependents who were excluded from previous stimulus packages handed out by the federal government during the pandemic.House Democrats voted against a bipartisan proposal Monday that would have lowered the threshold for eligibility, indicating their desire to move forward with Biden's plan without Republican support.

According to a May report from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, one third of those excluded from CARES Act payments were dependents between the ages of 17 and 24, and almost all of them were attending high school or college.

For many ASU students, this plan is a welcome relief after an almost year-long struggle with financial stress due to COVID-19.

“I would say it’s about time,” said Zach Schroeder, a freshman studying pharmacology and toxicology. “I can't even fathom how such a large body of people with such dire financial need were intentionally left out of the first two stimulus packages.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argued back in March 2020 that “there’s no clear policy rationale for this choice ... ,” yet adult dependents were excluded from another round of stimulus checks at the end of 2020, even though over half of college students qualify as financially independent.

“The costs of tuition or housing haven't gone down in response to the pandemic, yet I was unexpectedly unemployed like most Americans... which resulted in a loss of income,” Schroeder said.

Izaac Mansfield, a sophomore studying innovation in society and computer information systems, said “many college students don’t receive much help from their parents despite still being claimed as a dependent on their taxes.”

"Last semester I worked three on-campus jobs to be able to pay for (school) expenses while also saving for future leisure expenses," he said.

Some students already know exactly what they’ll spend their stimulus checks on, with expenses like tuition, housing and loan payments looming.

“If I were to receive a stimulus check, it would go directly into a savings account to be used for next semester’s housing expenses or to pre-pay the loans I took out this year,” Mansfield said.

The amount of stimulus money adult dependents would receive is not yet clear. House Democrats' proposal Monday would provide $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals making up to $75,000 a year, but a counterproposal by Senate Republicans seeks to give only $500 to adult dependents.

Jesse Chanley, a political science lecturer at the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, said Biden’s desire to cultivate bipartisanship with Republicans will stand in the way of swift action because of the varying opinions on stimulus checks on each side of the aisle.

“Republicans want a much smaller stimulus,” Chanley wrote in an email. “Democrats learned from 2009 that too small a stimulus will prolong unemployment and lead to cuts in state and local governments.”

Despite the dispute on the dollar amount, students look forward to any assistance that will allow them to focus more on their academics rather than their finances.

“I think it's nice that this administration is finally thinking about how to help a demographic who have needed financial support since the first stimulus check,” Schroeder said.


Reach the reporter at rpriest2@asu.edu and follow @reaganspriest on Twitter.

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