After months of debate, the third COVID-19 relief bill has been signed by President Joe Biden. The $1,400 stimulus checks are set to arrive soon, with many already arriving.
This relief bill is meant to help the economy and provide businesses, people and local and state governments with additional funds to help during COVID-19.
Political Science Department Chair Ken Moffett said this relief bill has many benefits for higher education.
“There is money in the package specifically earmarked for colleges and universities,” Moffett said. “As a provision of the bill, half of that money that’s allocated to colleges and universities has to go directly to students.”
Moffett said the primary goal of the stimulus package is to help people and their communities.
“What this bill is designed to do is to mitigate some of the substantially negative circumstances that have affected both individuals and business and state and local governments,” Moffett said.
Moffett also said he believes the indirect benefits are equally important to the SIUE community.
“There’s a substantial amount of money for assistance to state and local governments, and because SIUE is a state university, you have money that will flow through that mechanism directly to SIUE as well,” Moffett said.
One of the most talked about parts of this bill are the $1,400 stimulus payments, which Moffett said are one of the most direct ways the bill helps students.
“I think it’s [going to] be helpful to a lot of people because another provision that will impact any college students are the direct payments to individuals that are currently getting issued if they haven’t already been issued,” Moffett said.
Vice President of the College Democrats of SIUE Ian Kern, a senior applied communications studies major from Belleville, Illinois, said he benefited from the previous bill and hopes that this bill will also provide assistance to college students again.
“I know that SIUE personally has given me money through the CARES program to help me out during this time. That really helped me and I think it helped a lot of college students,” Kern said.
Jo Ann DiMaggio May, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at SIUE, said businesses especially benefit from this support.
“I think it’s certainly needed, businesses and individuals need this extra support,” DiMaggio May said. “There’s a lot of people unemployed or underemployed right now, especially in restaurants and hospitality.”
One of Kern’s largest concerns had to do with people he knows that have suffered unemployment caused by the pandemic. He said he believes this bill has helped to alleviate that due to the continued unemployment benefits offered.
“I know so many people that have lost their jobs or that haven’t been able to get money that have rent payments, bill payments. I was genuinely worried for them,” Kern said. “My first priority is taking care of the people who actually need help.”
DiMaggio May said she is also excited about the chance for businesses to apply for more forgivable loans or take out more in order to help keep their businesses afloat.
“The biggest thing out of the stimulus and relief package was the paycheck protection program being extended and allowing for companies to take a second draw,” DiMaggio May said.
Kern said the items included in this bill in particular are very helpful to the economy and public as a whole.
“It’s hard to tell how much of that [funding] will trickle down, but I do think as far as the national economy [goes], this will do a lot to help people,” Kern said.
The College Republicans of SIUE could not be reached for comment.
For more information regarding the federal stimulus, visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website.