Home Coronavirus Coverage In Reversal, ED Will Not Enforce Title IV Eligibility for CARES Act Student Grants, Still Excluding DACA Students – NASFAA

In Reversal, ED Will Not Enforce Title IV Eligibility for CARES Act Student Grants, Still Excluding DACA Students – NASFAA

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After facing heavy criticism over guidance that would limit federal emergency student grants to those eligible to receive Title IV aid, including critique from NASFAA, the Department of Education (ED) late on Thursday pulled an about-face in an updated statement saying it would not enforce that guidance because it lacks “the force and effect of law.” Still, it stopped short of opening up grant eligibility to international students, those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and undocumented students, due to statutory language from the 1996 welfare reform law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, prohibiting them from receiving federal public benefits, such as grants.

ED also said it “continues to consider the issue of eligibility for HEERF emergency financial aid grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and intends to take further action shortly.” Given the kafkaesque rollout of the CARES Act emergency grants to date, NASFAA cannot proffer an opinion as to what additional guidance ED may issue or when that guidance will be issued.

The updated statement comes after at least two lawsuits were filed against ED — one from the California Community Colleges System and another from Washington’s attorney general — alleging the guidance would unnecessarily exclude otherwise eligible students from crucial emergency aid amid the global pandemic.

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