Spare some change, Georgia State University President Mark Becker?

The stimulus checks came and went, but for many students, they never saw a penny of this relief.

Thousands of college students were excluded from the stimulus check, leaving them financially vulnerable. Georgia State University Georgia State University President Mark Becker and the institution he leads are more than capable of rectifying this issue; they need to allocate funds and provide every student with a Georgia State sponsored check.

Under the CARES Act, Americans would receive up to $1,200 in COVID-19-related relief unless they made too much money, are legally their parents’ dependents, did not file taxes in the last 1 to 2 years or are an immigrant or married to one.

Roughly 53,00 students started school this fall, many not qualifying for the stimulus check, including Allen Anderson, an incoming freshman who had to sell his company and ETF stocks to cover tuition. He did not qualify because of his dependent status.

According to Senior Vice President for Student Success Timothy M. Renick, 60% of students’ families fall below the federal poverty line.

Georgia State knows that many of its students are struggling and need financial relief during this pandemic. To aid students, Georgia State received over $45 million in CARES Act funding, half of which will go to student relief via grants.

Grants were automatically disbursed to students who met certain requirements. As of July, over 34,000 grants were awarded, just north of $21 million in total.

“I gave all the money I got to my mom,” Allison Henao, a third year political science and philosophy major, said. “It really didn’t do much. [But] $500 is better than nothing.” 

Although ineligible for the stimulus check as a dependent, she received two $500 grants from Georgia State’s CARES Act fund.

“I think it is ridiculous at this time to have restrictions on who qualifies for federal aid,” Kimmy Rae Fisher, a second year PhD student, said.

Fisher received the stimulus check and two grants from Georgia State’s CARES fund.

There are a number of students who need financial relief and are left out. With so many students’ families living in poverty, Georgia State must do more than give grants to certain students. Georgia State should give every single student a $1,200 check, unconditionally. 

Georgia State has a budget of over $1 billion. Surely, $64 million can be mustered from the coffers. 

It may sound like a lot, but $64 million pales in comparison to $1 billion. Students are struggling and need help now.

Becker can leverage his relationships with major donors and fundraise, and Georgia State can reduce salaries and cut bonuses for its highest-paid administrators, which includes himself, who received $1 million in compensation, half of which came as a bonus. 

Surely half a million can be spared here and there; maybe the Georgia State alumni can pitch in a few pennies. If sports are cancelled for the year, a few dollars from the athletics piggy bank can be set aside. We would not even notice the difference during the pandemic. 

“I qualified [for the stimulus check] and still didn’t get my payment yet, so I understand full well what those folks are going through. I know it’s even tougher knowing no one is gonna come down with a ladder,” Dontay Wimberly, a postgraduate political science student, said. 

Becker, come down with a ladder.

President Becker, give us a Panther Stimulus Check!