On June 11, The Department of Education proposed a new rule for American colleges and universities regarding the emergency relief funds that the CARES Act allocated for students. This rule, which went into effect on June 17, comes on top of previous similar guidance issued by the DeVos Department of Education, both instructing institutions to exclude undocumented students when distributing their emergency scholarships. This leaves the 450,000 undocumented students enrolled in the postsecondary system without any federal assistance to help cover costs and make ends meet during this national crisis. 

Brent J. Cohen, the executive director of Generation Progress, released the following statement in response: 

“While a rule  like this from Secretary DeVos is unfortunately not unexpected, it is a slap in the face during a pandemic and at a time when many people are protesting daily to demand justice and an end to systemic racism. Undocumented students already face enormous barriers just to make ends meet—and undocumented students who identify as Latinx or Black are more likely to simultaneously be impacted by the racial wealth gap, skyrocketing unemployment, and state-sanctioned violence.

Undocumented students and DACA recipients, who are ineligible for federal—and, in many cases, state—financial aid, are often already paying out-of-state tuition in their home states, and struggling to afford higher education. What’s more, these students pay the federal taxes that contribute to making CARES Act funding possible. The CARES Act itself never indicated that any students should be excluded, but Sec. DeVos once again chose to use her own prejudices to guide her policy.”

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Emily Leach at eleach@americanprogress.org.

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