CARES Act passed by senate

Funds come to students


Krys Shahin

Eloy Oakley spoke about the CARES Act at a student media teleconference held April 14 via Zoom.

Katie Loughran, Features Editor/@Katie__Loughran

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was recently passed by the U.S. Senate March 27 to help to provide relief to groups affected or impacted by the recent pandemic. 

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the almost $2 trillion Coronavirus response bill will provide, “fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries.”

The bill, commonly referred to as the CARES Act, will assist several groups including hospitals and public health, state and local governments, education, individuals and more. 

The U.S Department of Education stated institutions may pay the emergency financial aid grants to students through, “checks, electronic transfer payments, debit cards, and payment apps that adhere to the Department’s requirements for paying credit balances to students. The disbursement of the emergency financial aid grant to the student must remain unencumbered by the institution; debts, charges, fees, or other amounts owed to the institution may not be deducted from the emergency financial aid grant.” 

The CARES Act does not allow institutions to use the funds to reimburse themselves for resources provided to students such as technology hardware and other related equipment. 

Refunds are provided to students for room and board, tuition, and other fees, or continued payment from institutional funds to pay student workers for campus jobs. Institutions also cannot use the funds for the emergency financial aid grants to students to pay outstanding or overdue student bills to institutions.  

For additional information related to emergency financial aid grants to students, visit the CARES Act grant resources and guidance located on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s webpage.

In an NPR article written by Kelsey Snell, an estimated $43.7 billion from the bill will go towards Education and other programs including universities, arts programs and more. 

Snell writes, “The bill includes relief for college students and graduates with outstanding federal student debt.”

For temporary student loan relief, “All loan and interest payments would be deferred through Sept. 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans.” For work-study funds, “[The bill] allows schools to turn unused work-study funds into supplemental grants and continue paying work-study wages while schools are suspended.”

In the event that students were forced to drop out due to the pandemic, Snell reports, “Students who dropout of school as a result of the Coronavirus wouldn’t have that time away from school deducted from their lifetime limits on subsidized loan and Pell Grant eligibility. Those students would also not be asked to pay back any grants or other aid they’ve already received.”

In a COVID-19 media teleconference, California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley stated, “We’re trying to carve out flexibility from Governor Newsom. It’s provided us with additional flexibility and we’re asking for more, and then we’re asking the state as they think about how they prioritize the budget to be able to provide direct support … to cover the cost of attending college, including food, housing course materials technology health care needs and child care related to the covert 19 pandemic.”

For any additional questions, please contact Christina Jimenez, Public Information Officer for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, at [email protected].