Government shutdown has limited effect on students

With the federal government  reopened and the debt-ceiling crisis narrowly averted for at  least the next couple of months, students can rest assured that the temporary shutdown did little to disrupt Trinity’s functions.

Despite news of furloughed federal workers and some federally run programs halting their services, Federal Student Aid continued to flow in. Students receiving Stafford loans saw no difference in the amount of aid provided.  Those who participate in Federal Work-Study also saw no changes in their work hours or paychecks.

“Student loans are taken out during the summer, so the recent shutdown won’t affect the disbursement of the loans or funding for work-study this late into the semester,” said Glendi Gaddis, director of financial aid.

Access to databases and government websites also remained largely intact. Because Trinity goes through a private third party provider, articles from databases continued to be available to students and faculty even as federal programs slowed or ceased operation. The impact of the shutdown was more apparent on government websites.

Holly Josserand, a senior and urban studies major, recalled attempting to access collegecost.ed.gov and census.gov for a class she is enrolled in and they did not open.

“Since the government was shut down for so long, I just looked to other websites and sources for my research,” Josserand said.

Most websites for federal programs continued operation through the shutdown, however.

“Most government websites are still up and running; the only noticeable difference is that some sites may not have been updated since Oct. 1,” said Jason Hardin, manager of access services.

Despite most on-campus operations remaining in working order, Trinity students who receive aid because of a parent’s veteran status were potentially affected by the shutdown. The effects include changes in amount of aid or delays in given aid.

“Those receiving aid through ROTC might see delays or changes in the amount of aid they receive if their paperwork wasn’t processed before Oct. 1. Those whose paperwork was processed before October should not have any delay in aid disbursement,” Gaddis said.

Students with furloughed parents whose salaries were temporarily suspended were likely to be personally impacted by the debt-ceiling crisis.

“One student has come to the financial aid office asking for an extension on tuition payments due to a parent being furloughed,” Gaddis said.

Now that the debt ceiling has been temporarily raised and federal employees have gone back to work, federal programs have resumed their functions. Congress has yet to pass a long-term resolution, however.  Should Congress fail to resolve the issue, the country could find itself in a similar predicament a few months from now. Though the short-term effects of the government shutdown were difficult to see on campus, the impact of such an event over a longer period of time would be more noticeable.

“Though there haven’t been many students or faculty members that have been affected by the shutdown, the longer the shutdown continues, the more students we anticipate having trouble making tuition payments because of their parents’ employment or veteran benefits,” Gaddis said.

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John Mendiola is the Web Master and an Arts & Entertainment Reporter for the Trinitonian. He is a senior computer science and communication major from Houston, Texas (though originally Manila, Philippines). This is his 4th year working for the newspaper.