By Len La Rocca
As direct deposits began hitting bank accounts, working-class Americans let out a sigh of relief. College students claimed as dependents, however, were excluded from the immediate federal aid.
Eligible students at the College will be receiving checks from $500 to $2,500 through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to Luke Sacks, the head media relations officer at the College.
“All degree-seeking students enrolled in spring 2020 who complete a CARES Act application found on the TCNJ website and who qualify for financial aid as designated by completing the FAFSA form will be considered eligible for CARES Act funds,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Lisa Angeloni.
Over 950 students have applied for aid through the act. The amount of aid will be determined based on answers to questions regarding the financial hardships they’re facing due to the pandemic, according to Angeloni. Losing an internship, having to upgrade the WiFi for online classes or simply having to purchase food are examples of direct financial impact due to COVID-19.
“CARES Act funding will assist students who are experiencing job loss, food or housing insecurity, child care issues, or anything that might impede meeting educational milestones,” she said.
While the College’s goal is to provide relief in these trying times, Angeloni urges students to apply quickly, as funds are limited.
“The College is committed to distributing the CARES Act funds it has received to as many eligible students in need as quickly as possible until funds are exhausted,” she said.
Of the $323 million allocated to New Jersey colleges and universities, The College received $5 million with an obligation to put half of the funds toward direct student financial aid, according to Planet Princeton.
While many students will be receiving aid in the coming weeks, students who never filed for financial aid are not eligible for CARES relief.
Students like Matthew Long, a senior special education major, missed out on receiving a federal stimulus check due to being claimed as a dependant by his parents, and will miss out on the CARES Act relief due to not qualifying for financial aid.
“If I had $500 right now I would get groceries, save it up for materials for next semester, use it for my bills, or use it for parking next semester,” he said.
As many aspects of college life are up in the air, some students will finally see relief as their CARES checks will begin showing up in student bank accounts “early next week,” according to Sacks. Students may still apply for FAFSA in order to qualify for CARES aid.