On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the latest bill in COVID-19 relief legislation, The American Rescue Plan. Key components of the bill include securing funding for increased COVID-19 testing and vaccination, bringing money to struggling small businesses and sending $1,400 stimulus checks to the majority of adult Americans.
The checks are the largest of the three that have been sent out over the past year and fulfills the president’s campaign promise of “finishing the job” of providing $2,000 of direct cash relief to the American people, being paired with the $600 check that Americans received in December.
Unlike the two previous stimulus bills, The American Rescue Plan makes adult dependents eligible to receive the $1,400 payments. Many college students across the country fall under the adult-dependent category and are seeing their relief money for the first time, including students at GVSU.
“I was fortunate enough to have my parents give me a little bit of the first stimulus check — even though they didn’t get anything for me and I didn’t qualify — to help pay my tuition,” one Grand Valley sophomore said. “Because I’m 20 and a dependent, neither me nor my parents got money for me from the second ($600 check) either. This most recent one, my parents gave me a bit more to cover the security deposit on a house I’m leasing next year.”
For other GVSU students, the checks are providing new opportunities that they have not previously had.
“I haven’t been able to afford a car until these stimulus checks,” one Grand Valley freshman wrote. “Living in a rural town during the summer, this opens me up to better opportunities, more independence. Plus, I can get an off-campus job and not have to worry about depending on the bus.”
Even for students that are able to put their new checks in the bank, they can still provide a safety net and act as an immediate form of relief.
“What I planned on doing was saving the money and investing”, another GVSU student said. “But due to some unfortunate circumstances, I will need to use some of the money to purchase a new car. The stimulus checks will help in the near future and down the road.”
With vaccinations on the rise and businesses beginning to open their doors again, it is unclear if another stimulus bill will make its way to the president’s desk before the pandemic has fully ended.
For students who are unsure of their eligibility or the status of their check if it has not arrived, payment tracking and eligibility requirements are available on the IRS website.