DeVos issues rule barring colleges from granting coronavirus relief funds to DACA recipients

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosGOP lawmaker wants probe of UPenn’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement Taking the guesswork out of financial aid appeals Trump vetoes measure aimed at blocking DeVos student loan rule MORE issued a rule Thursday that would ban colleges from granting coronavirus relief funds to noncitizens, including those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. 

The rule finalizes the Education Department’s (DOE) interpretation of a provision in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed in March which allocated $12.6 billion to colleges to fund emergency grants for students affected by campus closures.

Under a nonbinding guidance the DOE issued in April, the department advised colleges to only give relief funds to students who typically qualify for federal financial aid, excluding international students and beneficiaries of DACA.

“It’s clear the CARES Act was written to help Americans recover from the coronavirus pandemic,” DeVos said in a statement to The New York Times. “U.S. taxpayers have long supported U.S. students pursuing higher education, and this rule simply ensures the continuity of that well-established policy.”

The rule will be up for public comment in the next month.  

In May, the California community college system filed a lawsuit against the DOE alleging that DeVos exceeded her authority in barring colleges to give aid to whom they please.

The lawsuit alleges that the DOE’s interpretation “likely excludes more than half of all students in the California community college system, including many identified as economically disadvantaged.” 

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