The likelihood of a federal government shutdown when the fiscal year ends this Saturday, September 30 is high. Both the House and Senate have made little progress to avert a shutdown and now have fewer than two days to come to an agreement before the current funding expires.
Impacts to our campus will depend on the length of the shutdown. Overall, campus and CU system leadership does not expect the impacts to be substantial if the shutdown is only a week or two. However, a government shutdown of any length will have an impact on federally funded research activities because most federal employees will be furloughed with only a limited number of essential staff working. They will not be permitted to check email or respond to messages during the shutdown.
Below is some information that the CU Government Affairs team has pulled together to help our campus better understand the impact should there be a federal government shutdown.
Impacts to federal student aid should be minimal for several reasons:
- Federal student aid funds have already been disbursed for the current semester.
- FY24 funding is for the next academic year and this year’s levels were set by the FY23 funding bill.
- The Federal Student Aid Information Center, which answers inquiries about Title IV federal student aid, will cease operations. Support for individual cases and inquires will be suspended for the duration of the shutdown.
- Federal Student Loan payments, which are scheduled to resume in October, could be impacted.
- The launch of the new simplified FAFSA application, which is currently expected in December, could be delayed, if the shutdown persists for many weeks.
Interactions between PIs and program managers at federal agencies will cease. Agency employees will be unable to answer the phone, respond to emails, maintain websites, hold meetings, review grant applications, send proposals out for peer review, process awards, or make manual payments to existing awards. This means that:
- No new grants will start during the shutdown.
- Funding for active grants that are up for renewal or no-cost extensions may not be processed.
- Automatic payments for active grants are expected to continue.
- Published grant and nomination deadlines should be adhered to, as submission portals are expected to remain active during a shutdown.
- Delays on the back end of a shutdown are expected as federal agencies resume operations and dig out from the backlog. This could further delay announcements of awards and new grant programs. Federal agencies may have to reschedule review panels, meetings, and public launch events for new programs.
- Consular and embassy services will remain open, allowing international students and scholars to continue to apply for visas. However, they may experience processing delays, as services for American citizens are prioritized.
- Immigration casework may be delayed as congressional caseworkers, or their liaisons may be furloughed.
- E-Verify will cease operations. While Colorado does not require employers to use E-Verify, federal contractors and employers of individuals working under certain special categories, including STEM-OPT and H-1B visas, are required to participate under federal law.
Military/ Veterans Benefits
- The Department of Veterans Affairs prioritizes payment of education benefits.
- However, active-duty military students, veterans, and ROTC cadets could be impacted if stipends, or housing allowances, are delayed. Additionally for active-duty members paychecks may be delayed regardless of if they are furloughed or not, if Congress does not pass legislation to guarantee military pay. The Pay Our Troops Act was introduced to do this.
- The VA Education Call Center, which answers questions about VA benefits and services, will cease operations. It will also stop processing enrollment certifications.