This Week In Washington
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is being criticized for guidelines published last week that exclude some students from receiving any of the billions in emergency student grant funds authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The guidance, which outlines how allocations of the emergency funding are to be made by institutions, stipulates that only students who qualify for federal aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act may receive funding. Those excluded include international students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, students who have defaulted on student loans, students with less than a C average, and students with minor drug convictions. Though there is confusion over whether Congress intended to exclude these particular students, ED maintains that “[t]he department is implementing the CARES Act as it was written by Congress…institutions are free to give funds from their endowment or other funds to students who do not qualify for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants. But unless Congress changes the law, institutions cannot use the federal taxes paid by lawful American citizens and residents to do so.”
No relevant student aid bills were introduced this week for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020).