Has the government shutdown affected you? It could soon...
Oct 10, 2013 by Michael Murphy | 0 Comments
In case you hadn't heard, the federal government of the United States of America shut down a couple weeks ago. Initial reports have stated that over 800,000 federal employees are currently under furlough. Nutritional programs for low-income families have seen their wallets closed. Many Head Start programs shut their doors. National Parks, the CDC and the EPA have had virtually all of their staff sent home. I imagine there are millions of stories from millions of people who have been affected - whether directly or indirectly - by the shutdown.
In the face of all this (if I'm going to be honest) my own personal life has been virtually unaffected by the shutdown. I didn't have any trips to Rocky Mountain National Park planned. Denver Seminary is a private institution that doesn't depend on federal backing to operate. I haven't caught a bad case of sars or the swine flu due to the closure of the CDC. Other than some slight irritation from a mild case of annoyance at our government, I'm as healthy and employed as I ever have been and I suspect this is the case for many people in the Denver Seminary community. However, as we trudge along with a partially-operating government, we could start to see the impact of the shutdown spread - particularly when it comes to financial aid.
As your local and reliable financial aid professionals, our immediate concern about the shutdown was the effect it would have on federal student aid. The Department of Education was quick to reassure that the impact would be minimal. A report this morning by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), however, warns that failure to raise the country's debt ceiling could disrupt the ability of financial aid administrators to drawdown federal student aid funds for students.
So what does this mean for the typical Denver Seminary student? The only type of DenSem aid that would be impacted at this time is the federal student loan. If you've already received your loans for the Fall semester, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you are planning on requesting an additional Fall loan to help cover that unexpected expense or to help get you through the winter, your access to federal loans could be in jeopardy. As of today we have little insight into the impact the shutdown will have on Spring financial aid, though we are hopeful for a solution to be in place by then.
For now it all comes down to the looming debt ceiling deadline on October 17th. Whatever actions (if any) Congress takes between now and then will bring clarity to the issue and allow us to provide more precise direction to students.
So if you are a federal employee getting an unexpected vacation or an avid outdoorsman stuck at the gates of your favorite park, we wish you the best. If you're a Denver Seminary student who depends on student loans to get through school and pay the bills, rest assured that Denver Seminary is committed to you and will work to find a way to help any student negatively affected by the shutdown.