ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – As stimulus checks start to be distributed many college students are disappointed that they don’t qualify to receive funds.
The economic stimulus package is providing one-time payments of $1200 to most Americans. One group of people not receiving anything though is college students.
Anyone who is claimed as a dependent and is over the age of 18 won’t receive any financial support. The idea is that students are mostly supported by their parents, which is true to a degree, but there are many exceptions.
Dr. Sarah Beasley, Dean of Students and VP of Student Affairs at Concord, says many students are legally required to be claimed as dependent, even if they support themselves.
“Many of our students might be claimed as dependents but often pay for living expenses and pay their tuition and fees on their own,” Beasley said.
As a result of this there are hundreds, if not thousands of students across the state that are in deep financial trouble. Closed campuses mean no on-campus jobs and most students employed by their schools are out of work. To help mitigate this, Concord uses a gap fund to help students in bad financial spots.
“We saw that students were dropping out because they might have a car payment, or a car repair, or a medical bill, a couple-hundred bucks that they were unable to afford. So we started this grant fund to help those students.”
The gap fund has been in place for years and acts as a one-time grant for students on a case-by-case basis. Now the gap fund is seeing much more use than normal.
“We’ve given out a lot of those gap fund grants in the last two or three weeks, more than we typically give in a semester.”
Because of the increased use of the fund, Concord is starting fundraisers to ensure more students get access to financial assistance.
Alicia Besenyei, Vice President of Advancement at Concord says anything the community donates will surely help students during this difficult time.
“Every little bit helps, when you’re in something like we’re in and trying to provide funds for our students,” Besenyei said.
These financial issues aren’t just tied to Concord. Many young people in the state and around the nation are losing their jobs and aren’t getting any assistance from the government, which is leaving many in this group upset because younger people in today’s economic climate typically struggle more than others financially.