Dear 6th District, 

Thank you for all you are doing to keep our community safe and healthy. The social distancing measures put in place are there to make sure we flatten the curve and reduce the strain on our healthcare system during this crisis. 

In Washington, I continue to fight to protect student’s access to education and financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, which was passed late last month, has provided both direct and indirect relief to federal student loan borrowers during this pandemic. Additionally, the CARES Act provided the California Department of Education with funding to aid the transition to online classes and educational services for our K-12 students. Below you will find some of the principal benefits that are available now.  

STUDENT LOANS

Emergency Support for Student Loan Borrowers 
The CARES Act provides immediate relief for federal student loan borrowers from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020. 
  1. Student loan payments are to be suspended and interest is to be frozen on direct and federally held student loans. Please contact your loan servicer with questions.
  2. Involuntary collection of federal student loan debt is to be ceased, including wage garnishment and tax refund offset. Additionally, tax refund offset and negative credit reporting relating to federal student loans is to be ceased through September 30, 2020. 
    1. Due to pressure from Congress, the Department of Education has refunded $19 billion in involuntary student loan offsets. These loan offsets affected 830,000 borrowers. 
Please click here for further information. 

CURRENT COLLEGE STUDENTS 

College Students Affected by COVID-19
The CARES Act waives rules that would affect college students’ access to education and financial aid and provides financial grants for students.
  1. Colleges are able to continue paying students using Federal Work Study, even if the student is no longer able to work due to COVID-19.
  2. The semester(s) that students are unable to complete due to COVID-19, will not be counted against their Pell Grant or subsidized loan eligibility limit.
    1. Pell Grant eligibility is limited to 12 semesters under the federal education law. The CARES Act allows, by mandate, that an incomplete semester due to COVID-19 will not cause a student to lose eligibility. 
  3. Students attending college at foreign institutions are allowed to continue their education through courses via distance learning or through attending a partnering institution in the United States. 

K-12 EDUCATION

As schools are expected to not reopen until the Fall, the CARES Act allows states and school districts to devote more of their federal resources to technology infrastructure. We are working quickly to create more connected online classrooms to support distance learning for students and teachers who are teaching remotely, many for the first time.

The CARES Act provided the California Department of Education over $1.6 billion to purchase educational technology to transition to online classes, plan for long-term closures, provide meals to eligible students, address the needs of low-income students and students with disabilities, and provide mental health services. 

While California educates students remotely, I will continue to work in unison with city, county, state, and other local officials to ensure that we can effectively address education policy and bridge the resources gap. 

STAYING UP-TO-DATE

Please follow me on social media to learn the latest about what I am doing in response to COVID-19. I will also continue to provide regular updates through these newsletters going forward. Please pass this information along to friends and community members, or direct them to my website where all of this information will be posted after it is sent out.
 
Please continue to engage digitally and through the phone to check up on family, friends, and colleagues. We will all get through this crisis together by staying informed and lifting each other’s spirits!

Stay Well and Keep Healthy!

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Stay well and keep healthy!

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