The Trump administration’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, formally cut deferred action for childhood arrivals recipients from over six billion dollars in coronavirus relief. The move comes as the administration continues to target immigrants while using the Coronavirus as cover. Title IV of the higher education act, which authorizes federal assistance, deems those who are eligible for financial aid and who can access the aid that was outlined in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. In addition to DACA recipnets, sometudents who are ineligible for the assistance are international students. “U.S. taxpayers have long supported U.S. students pursuing higher education and this rule simply ensures the continuity of that well-established policy,” DeVos said in a statement.
The final rule also excludes those who are not enrolled in a title-IV program, not in good academic standing, and those who are at risk of defaulting on their student loans. In April, the department of education announced that Title IV eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify for the $6 billion in funds. The initial guidance was unbinding, and some Colleges and Universities in anticipation of a binding rule didn’t release any funds. Immigration advocates tore into the rule as discriminatory and will leave thousands of DACA students without necessary funds when already placed in financial insecurity due to the Pandemic. Undocumented students are also at higher risk of food and home insecurity relative to other students.
Several universities in California filed suit and requested an injunction on the guidance. Congress failed to outline the specific qualification of funds, leaving the Education Department to reference title IV as a resource.
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