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Your financial aid is safe during the government shutdown — but what else?



Shutdown Illos_Agencies

When the federal government shuts down, the country does not come to a shuddering halt, nor do the lights go out in the Capitol, nor does mass chaos immediately ensue. 

Update: The government has reopened following the passing of a short-term spending bill.

But its effects are widespread and are likely to be felt by everyone in one way or another, especially as time passes.

What happened

The federal government shut down at midnight Jan. 19 after the Senate failed to pass a temporary funding bill, which would have kept the government running while a budget was negotiated.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said at a Jan. 19 press briefing that Democrats would not support the budget before addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which expires March 5.

Both Indiana senators voted in support of the bill. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was one of only five Democrats to vote yes, according to the United States Senate roll call vote.

This is the first shutdown since 2013, which lasted 16 days, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

The government reopened Tuesday morning following the passing of a short-term spending bill.

Here is what would happen if the shutdown continued and how it would affect IU students.

University-related effects

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Department of Education will have minimal staff

Less than 10 percent of the department’s staff would be working during the first week of a government shutdown, which means less people would be on-hand to help universities and students. If the shutdown lasted longer than a week, the number would be cut to a maximum of 6 percent, according to the Department of Education shutdown contingency plan.

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Civil rights investigations at IU would halt

IU is currently under several investigations by the Office of Civil Rights. Five investigations are related to the University’s handling of sexual assault cases. These investigations would not continue during a shutdown, according to the Department of Education plan.

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University research would continue, but no new funding would be reviewed

Research funded through federal grants and funding would continue, but there would be a pause on approval for new funding, according to the Department of Education plan. 


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ROTC stipends may be delayed

Military would continue working but would not be paid until the shutdown ends, according to Mulvaney. In the 2013 shutdown, ROTC members across the country said their stipends were delayed. IU has an active Army and Air Force ROTC program. 

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Financial aid wouldn't be affected

Student loans and federal aid have already been distributed for 2017–18 and are unaffected by the shutdown regardless. Over 13 million students receive federal aid through these loans and grants, according to the Department of Education plan.

The Federal Student Aid office said on its website this would have no effect on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process, delivery of federal student aid or federal student loan repayment.

Other effects likely to be felt

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Most federal agencies are closed

If you need help from the IRS, Department of Education or other agencies, you would likely not to get it since few staff would be working.

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Most federal employees would not go to work or be paid

Students working or interning with federal entities could be furloughed, which means they would not work or be paid during that time.

Almost one million civilian federal workers would be furloughed, according to the Associated Press.

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National parks aim to stay open, but reduce services

Unlike the last shutdown, national parks and public lands are supposed to remain open, Mulvaney said, although not necessarily staffed. 

Rangers may not be on duty, and maintenance and service work for campgrounds, restrooms and concessions will not be operating. Cultural sites made of mostly buildings could remain locked, such as the Statue of Liberty, according to the Associated Press.

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Mail will be delivered as usual

The post office makes revenue off of stamps and other services, so mail would continue to be delivered on time, according to a tweet from the U.S. Postal Service.  

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Travel will continue

TSA, air traffic control and border control would all continue as normal, although some without pay, according to the Associated Press. 

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