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Education Department criticised over emergency grants

The Education Department has been criticised for excluding students brought illegally into the United States as minors from stimulus emergency grants. But financial aid administrators say even more students are left out, writes Kery Murakami for Inside Higher Ed.

About US$4.7 billion, or three-quarters of the US$6.3 billion in emergency student grant funds Congress authorised in the CARES (coronavirus relief) Act, has been sent to more than 2,000 colleges and universities, according to the Education Department. In addition, 3,482 institutions, or about two-thirds of the 5,136 eligible to get the grants to pass on to their students, have now applied, up from a half a week ago, the department told Inside Higher Ed.

But while that was seen as a positive even by critics, colleges and the group representing campus financial aid administrators say the department is interpreting the language in the congressional stimulus package so narrowly that many students, including those with bad grades or those who defaulted on student loan repayments, are also being excluded from getting help. Confusion over the guidelines is also delaying the grants reaching needy students, said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site

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