CWU News

Impact of Partial Federal Government Shutdown on CWU Students

Most student financial aid and developmental programs will not be affected by the partial CWU Mountain Medallionshutdown of the federal government, which began Saturday.

Critical student programs within the Department of Education will not be impacted because Congress already has authorized that agency’s budget, according to Central Washington University President James L. Gaudino.

Annually, CWU receives $20.1 million from the US Department of Education for Pell, Work Study, and other financial aid programs. The federal agency also provides nearly $65 million annually in direct student loans.

The shutdown also will not impede the processing of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications at the Department of Education.

Because of the approval of the Education Department’s appropriations, funding also is secure for TRiO programs, which enable many low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and people with disabilities to earn baccalaureate degrees.  The appropriations bill also has been approved for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides education benefits for veterans.

The shutdown affects about 15 percent of the federal workforce including Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture, which administers food stamps. People will still be able to get food stamps and subsidized lunches, at least in the short term.

“We are planning no furloughs and believe that, at least in the short term, we will be able to bridge any federal shortfalls that may occur,” Gaudino said.

CWU is reviewing the effects of the shutdown on research funding. Among the federal agencies that provide research grants to higher education, the following are effectively closed: the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Geological Survey, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.Gaudino said each federal agency handles the shutdown differently, with many having official contingency plans in place. Some federal agencies have the discretion to request that grant activities be suspended.

“In the short term, the financial impact to CWU grant-funded programs likely will be minimal,” Gaudino said. “But the challenges and complications will grow, the longer the shutdown is in place.”

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,