Stimulus checks have been a hot topic ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief began rolling out for adults when the CARES act launched in 2020. Most Americans received a $1200 dollar payment, with an additional $500 per dependent. Between the CARES act and then the American Rescue plan, most Americans have qualified for 2-3 stimulus checks. Additionally, these programs have offered monetary assistance through other avenues other than just a check from the IRS. These programs offered free COVID testing, federal unemployment assistance, grants for small businesses, and more.
However, many people say that the help these programs provide is not enough. In fact, there is one change.org petition that has nearly 3 million signatures, calling for monthly payments of $2000 from the government. People say they would expect these payments until the situation surrounding the pandemic completely normalizes/levels out. Unsurprisingly, this is not the only petition going around demanding monthly pandemic relief from the government.
As new variants of the virus continue to mutate and cases continue to surge, many citizens are looking to the government for help and guidance. Some fear another shutdown could be on the horizon as numbers struggle to improve.
New Stimulus Relief for Students of Atlanta, GA Medical School
A new stimulus specifically for Morehouse School of Medicine students amounts to $6,300. The private Atlanta, GA med school is offering a grant for its students in an effort to lessen financial burden. In the middle of a pandemic, this news is certainly a relief to many Morehouse students. The news was blasted to students via an email announcement from the school’s president, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. Dr. Rice told the university’s 754 students via email, “I am happy to announce that Morehouse School of Medicine will provide a financial gift of $6,300 to assist each of our currently enrolled, degree-seeking students with additional academic, financial, and mental health support costs such as childcare, food, transportation, housing, and healthcare needs.”
The money is available to students thanks to money the university was able to access through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The act offered $14 billion dollars to U.S Colleges and their students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). $21.2 Billion was added to the fund in January, and an additional $39.6 billion was added through the American Rescue Plan. According to official sources, the Morehouse School of Medicine received $56.4 million in funds through that plan. Perhaps this is why the stimulus is now becoming available to students instead of sooner.
Did the University Need the Funding?
One education policy expert, Jay Greene, shared their thoughts on the situation via email with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, or AJC. “The fact that Morehouse (School of Medicine) is simply forwarding its CARES funding to its students suggests that the federal government didn’t need to provide it and other universities with such large subsidies,” Greene said.
He continued, “I think (the school) made a better use of taxpayer dollars by giving it directly to the intended beneficiaries than the less productive uses chosen by other institutions, even if it would have been more appropriate for taxpayers not to have provided those funds at all.”