The migrant community in the United States received good news this week from the Biden administration authorizing colleges and universities to distribute pandemic aid scholarships to students regardless of their immigration status or whether they qualify for financial aid.
The announcement by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona reverses former Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ rule and grants a financial lifeline to undocumented, international, refugee, lawful permanent resident, and asylum-seeking students.
“These funds are critical to ensuring that all of our nation’s students — particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — have the opportunity to enroll, continue their education, graduate, and pursue their careers,” Cardona in a statement.
As reported by The New York Times, the Biden administration authorized undocumented students to access part of the $36 billion in emergency pandemic aid flowing to colleges and universities.
“What it does is really simplify the definition of a student,” Cardona added. “It makes it easier for colleges to administer the program and get money in the hands of students sooner.”
In addition to direct grants to students to provide money for school supplies, food, and housing, the funds are expected to be used to bolster academic support services, purchase laptops and expand mental health programs. All students, including those who have not formally applied for federal aid, are now eligible.
“The pandemic didn’t discriminate … and we want to make sure that all students have an opportunity to have access to funds to help them get back on track,” Cardona told reporters on a call Monday.