On March 27th, Donald Trump signed a historic $2.2 trillion stimulus package into effect to assist the struggling economy, as well as American workers. This stimulus package has many different aspects that will apply differently according to the situation. Here are a few components of the package that will effect college students as a whole.
Direct Payments to Individuals
The first major aspect that stands out to the American public is the direct payments to individuals. Under the stimulus package, single Americans will receive $1,200, while married couples will receive $2,400. In addition to that, parents will receive an extra $500 for each child under the age of 17. Payments will be made through direct deposit, but the deposit of funds will not begin at least until April 13th, with some speculating it might take much longer. Another very important detail to keep in mind however, is that only individuals who are INDEPENDENT will receive the $1,200 payment. If your parents could have claimed you as a dependent on last year’s tax filings, then unfortunately, there will be no payment for you. Many undergraduate students will fall into this category unfortunately.
Student Loan Payments
Another major aspect to the stimulus bill, directly impacting college students, is the suspension of payments and interest on federally-held student loans through September 30th. This will halt payments on all federally-held student loans, as well as halt all interest accruing on your federally-held student loans. This is an automatic suspension that went into effect March 13th, and requires no action from you. However, if you are still able financially, and want to continue making payments on your student loans, you may. Keep in mind that only federally-held student loans will be suspended. All Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) owned by commercial lenders, Perksins loans held by the institution you attended and private student loans will operate under their own rules, so call your loan provider and find out what steps they are taking during this time. You can learn more about these new rules at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
Rent Payments & Evictions
If the Coronavirus has put a heavy financial burden on you, and you’re unsure how you will be able to pay your rent, let me put your mind at ease a bit. The stimulus bill includes a housing protection against eviction for renters. Specifically, this bill will not allow any extra penalties or fees to be charged to your account due to late or delayed payment. Now this does not mean you should immediately stop paying your rent. Instead, this portion of the bill was put into effect for those who are truly struggling to make their rent payment. If you are in a very difficult financial situation right now, as a result of the coronavirus, then delaying payments on rent may very well make a lot of since. Make sure to weigh your options if you are considering delaying payments, and make sure to stay in contact with your landlord, as communication is key during a time like this.
While there may not be a ton of assistance within the bill when in come to college students, there are still lots of money saving tips to keep in mind during this time. First, make sure to check out K-State’s emergency financial aid resource at https://www.k-state.edu/sfa/aid/emergency-aid/. There they have lots of different emergency financial aid information that is extremely beneficial to those in a tough situation. Other things to consider during this time to save money is with your utility bills. With the increase in time spent at home for all of us, it is reasonable to assume that use of things like water and electricity have gone up. This can have a major impact on your utility bill and cause you unneeded stress. Simple changes such as taking shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, and less frequent laundry use will help lower the overall cost of your bill.
One final piece to consider if trying to save money is food. While the grocery store can be scary during times like these, try to resist the urge to go to drive-thrus/curbside pickups. These over time will add up and put a much higher financial burden on you than they typically would. Instead, place an online order for your groceries through either Walmart, Dillions, or Hy-Vee, all of whom have stalls where a worker will come out and deliver the groceries to you. This is the best way to not only stay safe during this time, but also be financially responsible.
Finally, if you need assistance with any additional questions or concerns regarding your financial health during this time, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Powercat Financial. We are still taking virtual appointments, and would be happy to help students here at K-State. You can schedule a meeting with us from the request an appointment link on our website at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial. We are all in this together and we are here to support you. The K-State community is one of a kind, and we must lean on each other in this difficult time.
Stay Safe and Go Cats!
Peer Financial Counselor 1