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Federal Programs for Students in Need

This is based on information the US Department of Education provided here. For a list of other programs, including non-federal ones, see this page on our site.

Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit to support families with children. Eligible individuals may receive up to $3,600 for each child under age 6 and up to $3,000 for each child ages 6 through 17.

To get money to families quickly, during 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid half of the credit as monthly payments—up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child ages 6 through 17. Eligible families will receive the other half by claiming the child tax credit when filing their 2021 federal income tax return in 2022. Most families can receive the full amount—even families with little to no income. Students are likely eligible for the full amount if they:

  • have children under age 18 who lived with them for more than half of 2021; and
  • are either a single parent making less than $112,500 or are married and the couple makes less than $150,000.

Most parents should have received the tax credit automatically, but if for some reason they did not and they are eligible, then they should receive the full amount of the credit when they file their income tax return.  The credit is fully refundable, meaning that even those who do not owe any taxes can claim the full amount and get a payment back equal to the full amount of the credit.

Recovery Rebate Credit / Economic Impact Payment

If you did not receive an Economic Impact Payment under the American Rescue Plan, either in your own name or as a dependent of someone else, you could be eligible for a $1,400 per-person Recovery Rebate Credit when you file taxes in 2022. To be eligible for the full amount, you would typically have to be:

  • single and make less than $75,000/year; 
  • the head of a household and make less than $112,500/year; or 
  • married and the couple together makes less than $150,000. 

For more information on eligibility, visit the IRS website on Economic Impact Payments. If you are eligible and haven’t filed a 2020 income tax return, filing a 2020 return will allow the IRS to automatically pay you the first two economic impact payments you  may have missed (by filling in the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit line of the 2020 income tax return). If you are eligible for the third impact payment of up to $1,400 per person and haven’t received it, you should claim it by filing a 2021 income tax return in 2022 and claiming the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit. If you were claimed as a dependent for tax purposes, you are ineligible for economic impact payments on your own dependent portion of the economic impact payment.

Health Insurance Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to high quality, affordable health insurance through the ACA health insurance marketplaces, such as HealthCare.gov, and Medicaid.  The American Rescue Plan (ARP) temporarily expanded the financial assistance available for individuals buying their own health insurance through the ACA health insurance marketplaces, saving individuals, on average, $50 per month. Four out of five enrollees will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after the ARP’s expanded financial assistance is applied. Individuals who enroll in health coverage through Medicaid will have access to free or low-cost quality healthcare.

SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps)

You can find your local office or State SNAP webpage using the SNAP State Directory of Resources. For more information about student eligibility and other student exemptions, visit the SNAP Students webpage

Affordable Connectivity Program

Students who received a Pell Grant can get up to $30 off their monthly internet bill (or up to $75 per month if the household resides on qualifying Tribal lands). Students can apply here starting on December 31, 2021. Households that were fully enrolled in the EBBP by December 31st will continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. Some participating providers are also offering an additional one-time benefit of up to $100 off a connected device (desktop computer, laptop, or tablet) supplied by that participating provider.  Households are required to contribute more than $10 but less than $50 toward that connected device. 

Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.

There are three ways for eligible households to apply:

  1. Contact a participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process. If an eligible household is unable to apply directly, it may apply by using option 2 or 3 below, and then contacting a participating provider to select a service plan.
  2. Go to ACPbenefit.org to apply online and to find local participating providers. After applying, contact a participating provider to select a service plan.
  3. Call (877) 384-2575 for a mail-in application or print a copy, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

    Affordable Connectivity Program Support Center
    P.O. Box 7081
    London, KY 40742

To receive this benefit, a student will need to provide documentation that the student received a Federal Pell Grant for the current award year. The student may provide along with their application a screenshot from the student’s StudentAid.gov profile that displays their receipt of the Federal Pell Grant or other records provided by the college to serve as that documentation.

Unemployment Insurance

If you have become unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirements of State law, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of State law.
  • Each State administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by Federal law.
  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts, and the length of time benefits are available are determined by the State law under which unemployment insurance claims are established.

You should contact your State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.

Housing Assistance

The American Rescue Plan expanded numerous COVID-19 housing supports for homeowners, renters and landlords who may be struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. If you are in this situation, you may be eligible for the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) and local Emergency Rental Assistance programs. Links to available resources and applications are available through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.