Shutdown Jeopardizes Financial Aid, Grants

The shutdown could also affect UC internships and national research grant opportunities

The federal government shutdown that began Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 12:01 a.m. could affect UCSD students who receive financial aid, as well as campus researchers receiving grants. UCSD students at internships in Washington, D.C. will also be furloughed as nonessential personnel until Congress agrees on a budget or passes a continuing resolution.

The shutdown is the result of Congress’ failure to establish and pass a budget. Each year, the House and Senate must pass 12 appropriations bills to fund government agencies. This year’s budget was halted due to a fundamental disagreement between House Republicans and Senate Democrats about providing funding for the Affordable Care Act.

The United States government has been operating without a budget since 2009 and has relied on stopgap resolutions to keep federal services functioning. The last stopgap measure was passed in March, expiring on Sept. 30.

The Department of Education released a contingency plan guaranteeing funding to Pell Grants and federal student loans for the first week of the shutdown.

“A protracted delay in Department obligations and payments beyond one week would severely curtail the cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities … that depend on the Department’s funds to support their services,” the plan read. Should the shutdown last longer than a week, the department will see a personnel shortage that will cause delays in processing federal loan paperwork.

According to the plan, other student financial aid programs are not guaranteed to keep functioning.

“FSA employees working in areas not directly related to Pell Grants or Direct Student Loans, such as the Campus-Based Programs of College Work-Study … would not be exempted,” the statement read.

The possibility of obtaining research grants will also be affected, with funding, processing and approval for new scientific research heavily delayed.

Students within the University of California Washington Center, inadvertently lost internship opportunities with the closed government agencies.

“I will enjoy these days of vacation, but I wouldn’t want it to last too long,” UCDC participant and Department of Education intern Adam Jackson said.