Al Lawson Calls on Congress to Include Funds for College Students in Next Coronavirus Package

This week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., called on congressional leaders to include funds “to help students who are experiencing financial hardships due to off-campus student housing obligations” in the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Lawson led a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, on the matter.

“Most universities and colleges have transitioned entirely to remote learning and have requested that students return home. The institutions have been refunding students for their unused portions of housing and meal plans, while the students who live in off-campus housing found themselves responsible for rental payments on empty apartments,” Lawson’s office noted.

“The initial $6.1 billion investment to our nation’s students and universities was not enough,” Lawson said on Thursday. “It is critical that more funding be allocated in the next relief package to help students with essential needs.”

Lawson called on more funds be added to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

“This would allow institutions of higher education to award emergency financial aid grants to support graduate and undergraduate students experiencing unexpected expenses and unmet financial need as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lawson’s office insisted. “Students are uniquely impacted by the coronavirus, as many rely on part-time jobs, that may no longer exist, to pay their rent. Many are also claimed on their parents’ or guardians’ tax returns.  Because of this, these students are not likely to have received any direct government benefits from the current coronavirus stimulus package.”

More than 50 members of Congress signed the letter including Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Darren Soto and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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