Coronavirus Stimulus Check For Students: Congress May Not Approve Student Debt Cancellation

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After Congress approved the third round of stimulus checks in March, many states and local governments added their own payments. Most of these payments were targeted at specific groups. One group that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves is students. Moreover, a long-expected coronavirus stimulus check for students now also appears unlikely.

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Lawmakers Promised Coronavirus Stimulus Check For Students

Since the start of the pandemic last year, there have been calls to cancel student debt. However, this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer admitted that Congress won’t cancel student debt; rather, the president will have to act on his own.

What comes as a surprise is that Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were among the leading advocates for wide-scale student loan cancellation.

Previously, Schumer and Warren demanded student loan cancellations of up to $50,000 per student. Such a measure would cancel all federal student loan debt for 36 million Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

During her presidential campaign, Warren promised to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower. Even Biden during his campaign talked about cancelling $10,000 in student debt. Biden has yet to fulfill his promise, and his administration is reportedly reviewing his authority to approve wide-scale student debt cancellation.

However, there have been reports that the Biden administration has known whether or not it has the authority since at least April.

Student Debt Cancellation: It’s All Up To Biden?

Schumer cites “partisanship” and the “filibuster” as reasons Congress may not approve student loan cancellation.

"You read about the tough time we're having with legislation, the bill to build roads, bills to make prescription drug costs lower, the bills to get a tax break and get our kids out of poverty and get them to get a good education, to help small businesses," Schumer said, according to Business Insider. "Those all require the House and Senate to pass it but these days, with the partisanship, filibuster and all that, it's not so easy. The president can do this on his own [referring to student debt cancellation]."

Schumer may be right. It is very unlikely that the two parties will agree on legislation as big as this. On one hand, progressives support canceling all student loan debt, but conservative Republicans aim to limit federal spending. Thus, they don’t favor eliminating student debt.

However, the two parties did come together in approving the historic $2.2 trillion Cares Act in March 2020. Since then, the two parties haven’t come to terms on amounts for other stimulus packages.

Although there is no surety on if student debt cancellation is completely out of the cards, Schumer’s comments do come as bad news for students and advocates of student debt cancellation. Student loan payments are expected to resume in about 80 days after being on hold for almost two years.

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks For Students: This Program Is Way Bigger Than Most

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More stimulus checks are unlikely to come this year, but there is one federal aid program that could bring as much as $30,000 to one segment. This federal aid is available to prospective as well as current college students. However, there are a few important things that those looking into this coronavirus stimulus checks for students should consider.

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Not really coronavirus stimulus checks for students

The coronavirus stimulus checks for students that we are talking about actually has no relation with the COVID-19 aid. Rather, it is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. One reason why we are talking about this aid now is because the government only recently opened applications for this aid for the 2022-23 academic year.

The authorities started accepting applications for FAFSA from October 1. Those who are planning to apply for this aid must keep in mind a few important dates. As per, the FAFSA form needs to be submitted by June 30, 2022 at 11:59 pm. Moreover, any corrections or updates to the application should be done by 11:59 pm (Central Time) on September 10, 2022.

Along with the FAFSA deadlines, it is crucial that applicants are aware of the colleges’ deadlines. Individual colleges have their own deadlines.

It is recommended that applicants shouldn’t wait for the deadline to submit their applications, rather do it as early as possible. According to experts, students and families miss out on billions of dollars in aid every year because schools usually give financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, confusion over forms is another reason why many families miss out on aid.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, only 68% of students and families submitted the FAFSA application. This is the lowest ever recorded by Sallie Mae since it started its How America Pays for College report in 2008.

Common misconceptions about FAFSA

There are a few misconceptions about FAFSA that makes families miss out on aid money. One common misconception with many families is that they don’t believe that they will qualify for the aid. However, what families don’t know is that there is no official income cutoff to apply for this aid.

Another misconception among students is that FAFSA only determines student loans and that students need to take out all of the loans that they are offered. What many students don’t know is that FAFSA determines eligibility for other free aid as well, including grants and work-study.

Another important point that students need to know is that they can always appeal against the financial aid package to get more aid money. For instance, if after submitting the application there is a change in the financial condition, such as a family member has lost a job, then students must bring it to the attention of the concerned authorities and they may make an adjustment.