The United States federal government officially shut down at midnight eastern time last night, leading to furloughs of thousands of government employees, including more than 90 percent of the Department of Education’s staff.
Director of Financial Aid Lois Kelly said in a voicemail that the government shutdown shouldn’t have a direct impact on Cal Poly students at this time.
Federal programs are already funded for students in both the direct loan and campus-based aid programs, Kelly said.
The servicing entities that provide resources, process applications, process payments and process loan surfacing are all third-party contractors and are not direct federal employees, she said.
“The only federal employees that would be impacted and potentially furloughed are those that we financial aid administrators use as resources to answer our questions,” Kelly said in the voicemail.
Federal Work-Study, which provides students with part-time job opportunities to students who have financial aid eligibility, would not be interrupted either, Kelly said.
The awarding and disbursing of money to students will not stop, and the university will continue requesting and receiving funds as usual, Kelly added.
In case of a long-term shutdown, she said, there may be some impact in making competitive or other formula grant awards later in the year.
Amy Velasco, Cal Poly’s director of the grants development office, echoed Kelly by saying a short-term shutdown should not affect the university. The office has been receiving messages from federally-funded agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation saying that programs already receiving funding will continue to have it, Velasco said.
“We don’t foresee that as a problem at this point,” Velasco said.
In case of a long-term shutdown, the awarding of funding for new projects could be delayed, Velasco said.
Statistics junior Amber Hanna, however, is already affected by the shutdown today.
She applied for her Social Security Card on Friday and it is currently being withheld, Hanna said. It will take time, she said, to receive her card and get paid at her job as an instructional student assistant on campus.
“I am able to work, but not able to get paid,” she said.