Publication Title

Historical Methods 2020

Publication Date


Document Type

Visual Works


Gender: Female, Age: 20, Ethnicity: Latinx, Year: Third Year, Pronouns: She/her/hers

When the school sent out the first round of the Emergency Relief Grant, this Whittier College student received a total of $275 out of the possible $575. In an interview with the student, she states that the money helped alleviate some of the financial impacts she experienced due to COVID-19 and being laid-off from her job. As a lower-income student, the grant money helped her provide for herself. Her family had money saved aside, but only to cover the essentials. The student is responsible for paying for her education, so her family does not have to worry about another expense. Due to COVID, students of lower-income households have had to rely on assistance through the CARES Act and financial aid to continue their learning and help their families with expenses they might not be able to cover. Like many welfare programs in the years following the Great Depression, the CARES Act has helped Americans alleviate some of their financial burdens.

Similarly, welfare programs like the Social Security Act of 1935 helped Americans living in poverty stay alive and prevented other Americans from becoming impoverished. The CARES Act did not benefit every American, nor did it solve their economic problems for a pandemic that has gone on longer than expected, but it helped pay for food, rent, or a bill. For many Whittier College students, like this student, the grant money went towards supporting themselves as not to burden their families.

“What Is ‘Welfare’?” Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare, 1890-1935, by Linda Gordon, Harvard Univ. Press, 1999, pp. 1–13.