Federal Aid For Coronavirus Excludes Dreamers

The Donald Trump government vetoed most international students and all students who entered the United States illegally from emergency university scholarships approved by Congress within the $ 2.2 billion rescue package to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos introduced the restriction into new rules released Tuesday, which tell universities how to dispense more than $ 6 billion in scholarships. The scholarships are intended to help students cover unforeseen expenses arising from the pandemic.

Previous Department of Education regulations suggested that schools would have a lot of flexibility in distributing money, but the new regulation indicated that only students who are eligible for other federal education aid can receive the aid.

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It is estimated that more than 400,000 students entered the country illegally. More than a million international students are enrolled in American universities.

Student leaders and immigrant advocacy groups condemned the change, saying DeVos imposed new limits that did not appear in legislation passed by Congress. The rescue package did not specify which students could receive the money, and many universities planned to distribute the emergency scholarships to needy students, regardless of their immigration status.

Some prestigious universities rejected the funds, citing the new policy. Princeton University announced Wednesday that it would reject its $ 2.4 million in aid for the coronavirus because of that provision. Harvard University also cited that change by announcing that it would reject $ 8.7 million in aid.

Employees at the University of California, Riverside, estimated that they had about 600 students benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, aimed at students who entered the country illegally as children. . Now, the employees said, they will turn to other sources of income to help students excluded from the federal program.

The Department of Education said its measure was in line with other federal laws. Angela Morabito, a department spokeswoman, said the rescue package law “makes it clear that this taxpayer-funded aid fund must be directed at US citizens, something that is repeatedly indicated throughout the law.”

However, some activists challenged questioned that claim. The American Council on Education, an association of university presidents, noted that the bailout package set no limits on which students could receive aid.

Critics of the measure noted that it was especially unfair because the same students now excluded from the scholarships were counted in the formula used to allocate money to the centers.

The United We Dream Network, which advocates for DACA recipients, said it was “cruel” for DeVos to exclude so many students. Sanaa Abrar, the group’s director of activism, urged Congress and universities to look for other ways to help students excluded by the Department of Education.

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