Government shutdown slows student financial aid funding

As students start the new semester, they may find it difficult to receive their federal grants and loan money. Funding provided through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FA has been slowed down due to the recent government shutdown.

Several dozen federal employees and supporters demonstrated at the Sacramento International Airport calling for President Donald Trump and Washington lawmakers to end the partial government shutdown, Jan. 16, in Sacramento, Calif.

Several dozen federal employees and supporters demonstrated at the Sacramento International Airport calling for President Donald Trump and Washington lawmakers to end the partial government shutdown, Jan. 16, in Sacramento, Calif.

“With the partial government shutdown, right now the 2018-2019 fiscal years have been fully funded but the shutdown is affecting several of the processes,” said Mark Ammann, Richland’s associate dean of admissions.

It’s not a lack of student funding or concern as to whether the fiscal aid will be there. It’s the distribution process that has been interrupted.

FAFSA applications go through a database matching system that pass through the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security and the Selective Service System in order to be verified, according to the Federal Student Aid website.

If an application has been submitted, it may be interrupted until government workers within those departments return to work.

“Without the database matches, students are receiving a code of 390 that requires resolution in order to complete financial aid files and ultimately receive funding,” said Cynthia Butler, DCCCD financial aid director.

Butler said the IRS Get Transcript Online and Get Transcript by Mail service is also unavailable, which may block individuals from obtaining necessary documents for filing.

Yet, not all hope is lost. Regardless of where someone might be in terms of processing, there are ways for every student to double check available funds or get assistance.

Students still have a way to receive funding for the remainder of the school year. According to Ammann, DCCCD has worked to provide assistance for students who may find themselves impacted by the shutdown.

As for applications with a 390 code for applications in process, their FAFSA applications will be reprocessed once the government reopens.

If unfinished files or worries about verification exist, the DCCCD has placeholder funds in order to protect students from being unregistered.

The Department of Education released a statement Jan. 9 allowing for “copies of tax returns [from 2016 and 2017] and written statements of non-filing to be accepted for verification purposes in lieu of obtaining IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 application years.” This applies to verifications taken after Jan. 9 of this year.

If there are questions that still remain unanswered, contact the school’s financial aid advisors in Thunderduck Hall. The Department of Education’s address is available to be read at ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/010919Chngsto1819and1920VerificationReq.html.