President Biden signed off on a COVID-19 relief bill that was passed by Congress earlier this week. The bill is packed full of $1.9 trillion worth of benefits and relief for millions of struggling Americans, but, what’s in it for us?
How college students may benefit from the newest COVID-19 relief bill
The biggest change students will benefit from in this bill is qualifying for a stimulus check. Dependents can expect to receive a $1,400 stimulus check that they weren’t qualified for in the previous rounds of checks. According to the Associated Press, individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples making less than $150,000 combined can expect to receive a $1,400 check for themselves and each dependent. Payments are expected to go out this month.
Unemployment aid has also been extended to $300 a week until September 6. This continues to be aid received on top of what the state government provides for unemployment pay, and will be non-taxable to households making less than $150,000. Along with the aid, the bill also provides a 100% subsidy for COBRA health insurance premiums. This guarantees that employees who have been laid off due to the pandemic can continue on their employer’s health insurance at no charge until the end of September.
$40 billion will be given to colleges and universities to help with pandemic-related expenses. This money will also be used for emergency aid to help students who are struggling during the pandemic and can be used for food, housing, and computer equipment.
Rental assistance is another aspect of this bill that may be beneficial to BSU students. $30 billion will be provided to help low-income households with rent and to assist the homeless during this time. As well as an additional $10 billion for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments and other housing costs.
Another $3 billion has been granted to help those who have been dealing with mental health and substance abuse disorders, something that has become a much bigger issue because of the pandemic.
Finally, testing and vaccine distribution are being ramped up with a collective $66 billion to expand testing, speed up the distribution of vaccines, and for communications that should reassure American’s that the vaccine is safe.
This bill should help provide relief to millions of Americans who have struggled throughout this year-long pandemic. It should also bring relief to students, at BSU and beyond, who have been struggling financially and mentally.