August 17, 2020
The Education Department gave notice to a federal appeals court it is challenging a June federal injunction that barred the department from prohibiting undocumented immigrants and many other college students in California from receiving CARES Act emergency grants.
The department will file the challenge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, according to the brief notice. The California Community College system had filed suit accusing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of violating Congress’s intent in the CARES Act coronavirus bill when she ruled that only those who qualify for federal student aid could get the grants to help pay for essentials like food, housing and computers during the pandemic.
DeVos’s interpretation of the bill excluded noncitizens and others who do not qualify for student aid, including those with poor grades and borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans. Congressional Democrats have said they wanted those students to get the help.
In June, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers agreed and granted the preliminary injunction sought by the community colleges, which prevents the department from enforcing its interim rule.
“This is not unexpected and our colleges will continue to distribute emergency assistance as provided by the district court decision. We remain confident in the strength of the case brought by the California attorney general on behalf of our students,” said Paul Feist, spokesman for the community colleges.