The United States Government has now been shut down for 33 days, and it does not seem like a resolution is coming anytime soon. While the government is arguing over funding for the $5.7 billion dollar wall, 800, 000 federal workers are being left without pay or furloughed. National Parks are being vandalized and TSA workers at airports have also been impacted. Now it seems colleges students may experience effects from the shutdown.
College students across the country are experiencing problems with their financial aid, namely the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. The FAFSA requires students to turn in forms verifying the income of their guardians or their own. These verification forms come from the IRS but, due to the the shut down they have closed down as well. Now, students are unable to complete their applications, impeding their future financial aid.
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Students are also concerned with how much financial aid they will receive in wake of the shutdown, One senior at Johnson University fears her financial aid may be less than expected, saying she would have to drop out her last semester to work.
However, there is no need to panic. Students who turned in their FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year before the shutdown have had their documents processed. For students who have been trying to turn in their FAFSA application since the shutdown, The Department of Education recently recommended schools to accept paper copies of tax returns, instead of using the IRS.
While many college students may not feel a direct effect on their financial aid yet, it’s important to keep in contact with your financial aid office to make sure your FAFSA is completed.
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For students who are impacted by the shutdown, there is an urgency to make sure they are able to continue their classes and keep their enrollment. With their financial security at risk, some students are turning to dating sites in hope of finding a “sugar daddy.” Seeking Arrangements, a popular sugar daddy website has reported that their membership has increased 50 percent since the government shut down. While most new members are single moms that aredirectly impacted by the shutdown, one student, Isaac, signed up on Seeking.com over fears that he wouldn’t receive financial aid. Isaac was unable to get IRS verification on his FAFSA application and as a result, his financial account with his school was closed and he was unable to register for classes or see his grades. While many of us don’t have to go to the same extremes as Isaac, each day that the government is shutdown brings uncertainty to students and their financial security.