Third stimulus payments: A boon or a bust for student dependents?

Mia Steadman, Contributing Writer

The third round of stimulus checks, valued at $1,400, is in the process of being distributed, and unlike the first two rounds of payments from the government, tax filers will receive payments for dependents over the age of 17, provided that all other requirements are met. College-aged independent filers remain eligible and will receive their funds directly.

Students at the University of New Haven responded with varying degrees of excitement. For Kayla Edgeworth, a graduate student pursuing a master of public administration degree, the third round of payments could not be coming at a better time.

“I’m currently waiting for my new job to start so it’s nice to not have to be so stressed about bills for the immediate future,” Edgeworth said.

While the additional funds will be beneficial to students, some feel that the financial relief isn’t as substantial as they would have liked. The threat of future loan payments beginning upon graduation looms in the distance for students graduating in June.

Senior criminal justice major Marita Galliher plans to allocate the money towards paying off some of the private loans she accrued in order to attend New Haven.

She said that she wishes she could use it recreationally, but after not being included in the first two rounds of checks because she is a dependent over the age of 17, she would rather put the money where she feels she needs it most.

“Honestly I don’t think this will even reduce much of my stress because it’ll just be a small dent in the total loans I took out,” said Galliher. “College is just so expensive that 1,400 is not a lot – considering everything. I can’t imagine what it’s like for struggling families right now.”

Parents and legal guardians will be receiving the money on the behalf of their dependents. However, some students aren’t so hopeful that they will actually get to see any of the funds for themselves. Parents or guardians are not required to pass the funds along to their dependents, even if they are older than 18 years old.

“Since I’m a dependent the money is going to be dispersed to my parents, who have already told me that I won’t be seeing any of it,” said senior marine biology major Elizabeth Ford.

Ford did not receive the first two payments and was disappointed to learn about her payment getting lumped in with her parent’s funds rather than being distributed directly. She also said that she handles most of her own expenses while at school.

“It’s frustrating, but I can’t really do anything about it,” Ford said. “I’d like to actually put the money towards my own expenses, but I know they’re just gonna spend it on something for my younger brother.”

Other students were able to discuss with their parents how to best use the stimulus money. Senior communication major Devinh Valentine said that he felt lucky that his mother agreed to split her first two stimulus payments with him. Now, he says that he is going to return the favor by giving her some of his.

“I’m gonna use the rest to pay off my credit cards since the rent for my apartment is paid off until the end of my lease,” said Valentine. Although, he also said that the payment didn’t bring him any real lasting economic relief.

“It’s nice to have some [short-term] relief, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But with COVID-19, I haven’t really been able to build my savings as much as I wanted and if I were to be hospitalized for whatever reason it would be an issue.”