Indiana Daily Student

Here is what you need to know about the government shutdown

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. 

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 Dec. 22 after Congress failed to reach an agreement on a budget. More than two weeks later, it remains closed.

In a press conference Friday, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters the end of the shutdown may not be in sight.

“We told the president we needed the government open,” he said. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

Here is what’s happening as the shutdown enters its third week and how it could affect you.

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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. These investigations will 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 will 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 may not be paid until the shutdown ends. Unless Congress passes separate legislation to continue their pay. 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

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

Over 13 million students receive federal aid through these loans and grants, according to the Department of Education plan.

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 will 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 will not work or be paid during this time.

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National parks aim to stay open, but reduce services

Like the last shutdown, national parks and public lands are supposed to remain open, 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 will 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 will all continue as normal, although some without pay, according to the Associated Press. 

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