The coronavirus outbreak has closed stores, restaurants, schools, colleges and more — leaving many people jobless and many businesses struggling. In a single week, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
In an effort to help the businesses and people impacted by the pandemic, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) March 27. The star of the bill is individual checks the government promises to send to Americans.
The act states each American earning under $75,000 a year will receive a $1,200 check, but many college students are being left out due to other provisions in the law. The Phoenix studied the bill to answer questions some college students might have about how the act applies to them.
Will I receive a check from the government?
For many college students, the answer is no, for two reasons. If you’re still listed as your parents’ dependent on their taxes, you won’t get a check. The bill does provide an additional $500 for each child. However, “children” also means people under 18 — which most college students are not.
My parents’ joint income is over $75,000, will they get a check?
If your parents file jointly and make under $115,000, your family will receive $2,400.
Will undocumented people receive a check?
No, the bill excludes “non-residents” from receiving the aid.
If I do qualify for a check, when will I get it?
Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, said in a press conference checks should be out by mid-April. If you have already set up direct deposit with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when filing taxes, the money should show up in that same bank account. If not, a paper check will be mailed to you.
I have federal student loans, do I still have to pay them during the pandemic?
All federally held loans will have a zero percent interest rate and won’t have to be paid again until Sept. 30, according to studentaid.gov. If your loan is held by your school, it doesn’t apply to this bill. It is unclear what Loyola is doing in terms of school-held loans, as officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
I have a private student loan, do I still have to pay interest?
Private student loans aren’t covered by the CARES act. However, it’s worth it to look into how your private lender is helping students with loans. Providers such as Discover and Sallie Mae encourage their customers to reach out if they’re impacted by the virus.