Federal financial aid for thousands of UC Davis students appears to be in good shape, despite the federal government shutdown.
About 140 U.S. Department of Education employees continue to process Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans, programs that received mandatory or multi-year funding. About 45 percent of UCD students receive Pell Grant money for low-income families.
The department has furloughed 3,741 employees — including those who handle work-study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, for low-income students.
However, UCD has received its full allotment of funds from both programs, according to Gina Banks, director of federal government relations for the campus. All veterans benefits for October also have been paid out.
The funding bills being debated in Congress will overwhelmingly affect students during the 2014-15 academic year.
“Thankfully, federal student financial aid is forward-funded so students will not see any impact from the federal government shutdown this year,” Banks said in an email message.
“Federal student financial aid is a critical to UC Davis’ mission to keep the campus accessible for all students, regardless of income. We urge the federal government to continue to provide robust support for college students and their families.”
For the 2013-14 academic year, UCD estimates 11,000 students will receive about $52 million in Pell Grants, 14,000 will receive $135 million in federal loads, 1,000 will receive $3 million for work-study and 300 will receive $1.1 million in opportunity grants.
The education department says the impact of the shutdown on the aid application process will be “limited.”
UCD’s federal research funders have all but gone dark.
“We don’t expect an effect on current grants,” UCD spokesman Andy Fell said in an email message. “However, no new grant applications are being accepted by the federal agencies, applications already in progress are stalled, and no new grants will be awarded.
“If the shutdown continues for a while, agencies like (the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation) will have a backlog to deal with.”
The NIH has furloughed about three-fourths of its employees, resulting in sick people who want to take part in clinical trials being turned away. The National Science Foundation and NASA are all but shuttered.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has furloughed most of its 100,000 employees, with exceptions made for safety-related jobs, like meat and grain inspectors. The Department of Energy has furloughed more than 13,000 employees, again with public safety exceptions.
UCD received $400 million in federal research money during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Two other federal programs that affect the UC Davis Health System, Medicare and Medicaid, continue to operate.
— Reach Cory Golden at email@example.com or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden