The government shut down has lasted over a week now. This is having a big impact on higher education. However, at least for now, the Department of Education says that there should be minimal impact on schools, lenders and guaranty agency’s ability to administer the federal aid programs.
Most of the Department of Education employees are not working during the shutdown. The main Department of Education web site is also not being updated. However, the Department says that FAFSA on the web and the Federal Student Aid PIN web site are up and running as well as the StudentLoans.gov web site. The Department also says that it is continuing to process consolidation applications. All federal student loan servicing and debt collection systems and related web sites should also be working. (This includes the National Student Loan Data System). The Department has issued detailed information about what is working and what is not.
Because Pell grants and student loans are financed through June 2014, they have not yet been affected by the shutdown. However, if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, there could be far-reaching consequences for student aid. There are many other uncertainties, including whether the Department of Veterans Affairs will have funds to pay G.I. benefits.
The Department of Education is posting information about the shutdown and its ripple effects on the Financial Aid Professionals web site. We will also post updates as new developments arise.