Clarification from the Department of Education as reported in Inside Higher ED excludes two groups of students hit hard by the current COVID19 crisis – International Students and DACA students. Both groups have legal status in the country and both have very few options to survive in the next few months as higher educational institutions have closed the physical campus across the country and moved to online learning.
With countries closing borders and commercial flights entering their countries, these students have pretty much nowhere to go. Many of these students who relied on campus jobs to survive are now without even that option. Yet the expenses associated with daily living in the age of social distancing are very real.
The Department of Education has an option of throwing these students a lifeline – however small, but chose not to do so, according to the Inside Higher Education article. This goes against the grain of who we are as Americans.
International and DACA students might also face another challenge if Congress does not act – in the event they use public services for health care or to survive. Using public services can be a ground for denying an application for a visa or change in immigration status. Congress should enact legislation that would prevent this information from being used in a future visa or change in status application.