How a Government Shutdown Will Affect College Students

In the event that there’s an extended government shutdown, The Washington Post reports that most of the U.S. Education Department’s employees won’t be reporting to work. While this doesn’t have a major impact on federal student aid – as it has already been dispersed for this semester – many of you in college may still feel the effects. Here are the details:

Over 14 million students receive student aid, in the form of grants and loans, at over 6,600 schools through Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans, and if a shutdown is prolonged, the payment of this money could be delayed because there won’t be enough people to process the payments…

The government will designate the minimum number of employees necessary for these programs, and while the Washington Post issues warning, Inside Higher Ed lays out how the shutdown will more immediately affect current college students:

As a result of the permanent and multiyear appropriations, Pell Grants and [federal] student loans could continue as normal,” the Education Department said. “Staff and contractors associated with these areas will continue to work.

A host of other, smaller financial aid programs that require Education Department personnel to operate would be harder-hit by a shutdown. The department plans to furlough employees who support campus-based aid programs such as Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.

The department would also not award new grants to institutions since as much as 90 percent of its workforce will be told to stay at home.

Cross-Posted at Daily Kos.