How the $2 trillion stipend bill may impact students

By Quentin Wilson

DeKALB — Students may have the chance to receive money due to a stipend bill passed by the Senate Wednesday.

Congress is pushing for a $2 trillion stimulus bill to fuel the economy during its weakened state, helping the public feel more secure financially. While most of the money is dedicated to large corporations and small businesses, students can still benefit from the bill.

Students can keep any unspent money from Pell Grants or student loans. The agreement also protects students’ eligibility for future Pell Grants if a student leaves school due to the pandemic.

The bill can help students with payments for their student loans. They will not be punished for late payments until October, while all interest accrued during the period will be waived.

To help cope with the regression of the economy, taxpayers will be sent a stipend based on their marital status and income. Single individuals whose income is $75,000 or lower will receive a $1,200 stipend.

The stimulus bill can affect students based on their situation. If a student is claimed as a dependent, they will not receive money directly from the government. The stimulus bill provides $500 per dependent under 17, so if a student’s parent claims them as dependent, they will not see the extra monetary benefit if the student is 17 or older, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis.

If a student is not claimed as a dependent and lives on their own while working at least a summer job, they may qualify for the stipend.

If individuals have not filed taxes for 2019, their 2018 tax information will be used during the screening. If the individual does not have a valid Social Security number, they may be ineligible for the stipend.

While the university is giving stipends to all undergraduate employees who are not working, students who work away from the university may be eligible for unemployment. During this pandemic, many situations are on a case-by-case basis. While normally in Illinois students who lost their jobs don’t qualify for unemployment, some can still apply due to current circumstances. If the amount of hours worked satisfies qualifications of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, students can receive benefits during this time.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that students’ parents who claim the student as a dependent would receive $500 in extra benefit. This is incorrect if the student is 17 or older.