The Grand Avenue Business District. Credit: Pete Rosos

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On Feb. 22, the Small Business Administration extended the deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Business owners now have until 5 p.m. Eastern time on Mar. 9 to apply.

This extension is only for businesses and nonprofits with 20 employees or less, as well as sole proprietors. Recipients can borrow up to two and a half times their average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs, up to $2 million.

Currently, a total of about $128 billion dollars is available through the program. The extension is part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to make sure more small business owners can obtain a loan before the program expires on March 31.

President Biden announced additional changes to the program aimed at allowing more people to qualify for the aid, such as revising the PPP calculation formula to make it easier for independent contractors and sole proprietors—businesses owned and operated by a single individual—to get approved for a loan.

The administration also opened up the program to business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, as well as business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments.

The last major change is allowing small business owners who are U.S residents but are not full citizens to use their Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, to apply for a PPP loan.

Business owners can apply here.

Ricky Rodas is a member of the 2020 graduating class of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining The Oaklandside, he spent two years reporting on immigrant communities in the Bay Area as a reporter for the local news sites Oakland North, Mission Local, and Richmond Confidential. Rodas, who is Salvadoran American and bilingual, is on The Oaklandside team through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.