Students project future impact of shutdown
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 23:10
After the federal government shut down last Tuesday, Oct. 1, UConn is preparing for the results of the shutdown as it continues into its second week. Students especially are not very excited for what may arise if the shutdown persists.
JP Taylor, a 7th-semester finance major, said he doesn’t have any student loans or Pell Grants but thinks the shutdown “will [hurt students] but the impact won’t be right now and will occur later.”
While somewhat optimistic about the shutdown ending soon, Taylor is upset regarding how effective the federal government is functioning during this growing situation.
“Since we are currently in a shutdown,” said Taylor, “I would say they [members of Congress] are not that effective but I’m more concerned about the debt ceiling that is approaching.”
While many military veterans attend UConn receive Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, these funds and related funding will not be affected by the shutdown. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released an updated list of what is impacted in their office and, while most of it relates to its medical facilities remaining open, veterans going to public universities like UConn will have nothing worry about.
Connie Fraser, a spokeswoman for Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education, said “right now, the federal shutdown is having very little effect on students. We’re watching in terms of financial aid but financial aid is flowing directly to students.”
“There may be some hiccups with colleges contacting the federal government or with the students who are trying to use some college navigator websites if they’re looking to estimate college costs but right now students are not being impacted directly.”
According to a document from UConn’s Budget Office provided by Gian-Carl Casa, a spokesman for the governor’s budget office, the “length of the shutdown will determine the impact on UConn.”
So if it only lasts a few days, UConn could “temporarily use case reserves in unrestricted fund balances to cover any federal shortfall,” the document said. However, in the short term, the shutdown will delay the process of grants and contracts that UConn might receive from federal agencies since no new funds are granted.
In the long term, a few weeks or longer, the UConn Budget Office said “federal research contracts and Federal Student Financial Aid would be significantly impacted.”
Overall, students at UConn will not directly be impacted the government shutdown unless it drags on for at least another two to three weeks.
While a compromise between the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and President Obama -- along with his Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate – is possible on the near horizon, the debt ceiling limit will be reached on Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is hit before they come to an agreement, the country’s financial woes will get even worse – including for college students.