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What’s in the Relief Bill for Students and Schools

From Senator Jeff Merkley:

In the $2 Trillion Relief Package is —

For students pursing a higher education:

  • If you have federal student loans, your monthly federal student loan payments will be suspended until September. During this time, no additional interest will accrue. This is a critical step to provide badly needed economic relief for millions of borrowers.
  • If you participate in a federal work study program, but that work has been disrupted by the coronavirus, you will still receive your payments.
  • If you drop out of school because of the coronavirus, this academic term won’t count toward your lifetime subsidized loan eligibility or Pell Grant eligibility.
  • If you drop out of school because of the coronavirus, your grades will not affect your grant or student loan eligibility. You are also not required to return unused Pell funding or federal student loans should you drop out of school because of the coronavirus.
  • If you are a TEACH Grant recipient and you are unable to complete a full year of teaching because of the coronavirus, your partial year of service will count as a full year for your TEACH Grant obligations or Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

Another critical piece of this puzzle is keeping our higher education institutions afloat as they grapple with a very challenge: a combination of climbing technology costs associated with distance learning, and a simultaneous loss of tuition revenue. Our K-12 schools also need help responding to the coronavirus and transitioning to remote learning strategies.

For schools:

  • An estimated $32.6 million is included for the Governor’s Fund for use in Oregon, which will provide emergency support to K-12, higher education, or education entities that the governor determines to have been most significantly impacted by the coronavirus to help them continue to provide education and instruction and support functionality of the institution.
  • An estimated $121 million is included for the Elementary and Secondary School Fund for use in Oregon. This funding will assist in the coordination of preparedness and response to the coronavirus, provide principals with resources to meet individual school needs, and fund activities to ensure that minority students, students who are low-income, have disabilities, are English learners, are experiencing homelessness, and are foster youth all receive quality educational instruction. The funding will also help schools provide mental health services and support, summer learning and supplemental education, as well as operations services and staff employment.

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