Nearly every facet of the country has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. In particular, colleges across the country have been feeling the effects, as students have largely had their educations scrambled by this pandemic. While many students will be receiving aid from their respective educational institutions as a result of this crisis, many others will, unfortunately, be out of luck, as the Seattle Times recently reported.
The Seattle Times reported that public and private colleges, universities, and trade schools within the state of Washington will receive $223.5 million from the federal CARES stimulus act (which is the $2 trillion stimulus package that Congress and the White House agreed to in late March). As of right now, they have already begun to distribute funds to students who have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis. They went on to report that less than half of the money that has been allocated to schools in Washington is going towards community colleges. This move comes despite the fact that community colleges in the state educate more than two-thirds of Washington's college students. It should also be noted that undocumented students have been excluded from receiving any aid from their educational institutions.
As for the reasoning behind this allocation, the funding formula was made based on the number of students who are enrolled in school full-time. Many community college students enroll part-time, which is the likely reason why community colleges have received less funding. Washington Senator Patty Murray told the Seattle Times that "We need to do more" in regards to this discrepancy. She added, “Federal resources absolutely should go to students and institutions with the most need during this crisis.”
Murray also told the outlet that she would be reaching out to the United States Department of Education in order to ask them to amend their decision to exclude undocumented students from receiving stimulus payments amidst this difficult time. She told the publication that she would be reaching out in order to ask them “to reverse their unauthorized guidance that restricts DACA recipients, undocumented students and other vulnerable students from receiving desperately needed financial support.”
The Seattle Times also spoke to various college students to ask them how this crisis, and this payment discrepancy, has been affecting them. Timothy Billing, a freshman at the University of Washington, has said that he is advocating for a $600 reimbursement across the board for students. He noted, “Unfortunately, this isn’t a very equitable way of giving back because how do you deem who needs it the most during a pandemic? What about all the families who have lost jobs or students who can’t find jobs at this moment?”