Anchor Staff Writer
As I’m sure many of my peers have noticed when it comes to COVID-19 stimulus
checks, college students are a demographic left out of the conversation. While most Americans making less than $75,000 per year if single or $150,000 if married are receiving stimulus aid, college students and other adult dependents are not. Because college students are considered adults, our parents do not qualify for any additional funds the way that children under the age of 17 do. We get nothing. Not only is this grossly unfair in general, but data shows we are a demographic that will be in dire need of financial support, if not now, soon.
Graduating from college during a recession results in significant economic scarring that lasts anywhere from 10 years to a lifetime. Countless studies from research centers like the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford and the National Bureau of Economic Research conclude the same thing: graduates of recessions tend to experience at least 10 to 15 years of reduced earnings. One reason for this is that when graduates are forced to take low-paying jobs at less prestigious schools as their only option, they are often stuck in a continued downward trajectory, compared to peers that graduate even a year earlier. These wage losses are also far more likely to persist throughout one’s life for lower-income graduates who experience three to four times larger losses in their annual earnings than advantaged workers. While the wage loss may not last graduates’ entire lives, these 10 to 15 years of lower earnings result in less wealth accrued overall. These years of working for less, saving less and prioritizing their health and well being less negatively impact graduates’ futures even when their earnings have increased. Graduates of recessions are more likely to experience unemployment later in their lives, lower marriage rates, worse health and greater rates of dying during middle age.
The majority of these studies were conducted during recessions far less significant than this one, which is the worst since the Great Depression. It’s possible other factors at play will prevent our current situation from becoming nearly as damaging, it is not reaching to posit that the conclusions from these studies will impact current graduates to an even greater extreme than those in the studies.
Despite all of this, the conversation surrounding stimulus checks rarely if ever seems to address us at all. Even from progressive politicians, little if anything is being said to advocate for our inclusion in these COVID aid packages. Biden is now in the process of passing his COVID Relief plan. Though it may be an upgrade from the one from December, the fact remains we are still not going to receive stimulus checks despite being in great need of them. Of course, a stimulus check would not solve all of these issues that face us either, not by a long shot, but it would be a start.
I don’t say this all as a doomsayer or that it’s a matter of fact. There may be other factors that will prevent us from experiencing such extreme negative impacts. But nonetheless, this is a cause for concern and it is why adult dependents being excluded from receiving stimulus checks is not only unfair, it’s inexcusable and it needs to change.