At 29 days and counting, the US government shutdown is now affecting students both applying to college, trying to transfer because they are unable to access the necessary documents from the IRS in order to apply for financial aid, or needing to pay their tuition payment. Students who had not yet filed their FAFSA are encountering delays, making them miss financial aid deadlines.
To get around this some colleges are accepting signed copies of submitted tax returns for the time being, others have instituted flexible deadlines, and schools are reaching out to each other to share the necessary information. Deferred payment plans for students whose parents are furloughed federal employees and unable to pay their child’s tuition payments is another method being used to assist this group of students, while a few schools are waiving the application fees for applicants affected by the shutdown.
Community college are often incorrectly snubbed as a viable college option, yet their tuition has become very attractive for students financially strapped due to this shutdown as a means of at least beginning their college education. Unfortunately, some students’ only option is to drop out of college this semester.
The ripple effect of the shutdown has also reached the graduate level where swearing in ceremonies for the DC bar, originally scheduled for January 25th, have been postponed. The New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners is allowing eligible DC law students to take their bar exam.
If you are a student facing financial difficulties due to this shutdown, please reach out to the Financial Aid Department of your school for assistance.