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How the Stimulus Package Ignores College Students


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Now that the stimulus plan has been released and passed and we’ve had time to examine it, college students are a little bit miffed, and rightfully so. We’re almost entirely left out of this package, which is absolutely unacceptable given the fact that many of us have our own financial obligations to worry about. If you’re like me, you’ve done copious amounts of research to see if you qualify. Many students, though, don’t know a lot about taxes and other financial concepts that might help them to understand the package. It is for these students that I’m writing this article. It’s important that we all know where we fit in to important political and economic decisions. It’s especially important now, when the entire world is being affected financially by this pandemic. In times like these, whether we want to or not, we depend on our government for help. It’s extremely disconcerting to find out that such a huge portion of our population is being ignored and basically dismissed by the government. 

One of the main ways in which this plan does not account for college students is through dependent status. If a student is claimed by their parents on their taxes, as many are, they are not eligible for the stimulus check. What’s worse, because nearly all college students are over the age of 16, they also cannot qualify for the aid. Parents will receive $500 for each child under 16, but not for their children over 16 even if they’re claimed as dependents. This is unfortunate for students whose tuition is being paid for by their parents but are responsible for covering all other expenses. It also leaves out students who cover their own expenses but have lived at home with their parents and therefore have to be claimed as a dependent.  

Of course, the bill falls short in other ways. Even if students aren’t claimed as dependents, they might not file taxes. If they don’t make a certain amount of money, they aren’t obligated to file and many don’t. For those of us with “1099” jobs, there is absolutely no allure to file taxes if we don’t make the threshold amount. With a 1099 job, your income is not taxed because you’re self-employed or a contract employee, therefore you’ll owe the IRS money. The 1099 form also costs about $200 to file on TurboTax, so it isn’t cheap to file, especially for a college student with limited income. Combined with the money you’ll owe, the fee to file makes it not worth filing, especially if you only plan on doing so to receive the stimulus check.  

At the end of the day, there are countless revisions that can be made to this bill that would provide benefits to all people, including college students. Luckily, there are some people in government that are still fighting for the underrepresented so all we can do is contact our representatives and hope that they get through to other politicians.  

Junior studying Journalism and International Studies
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