Education Blog

How a Government Shutdown Affects Education

October 7, 2013

When Ohio residents awakened on October 1, 2013, the nation had changed.  State museums, parks and recreational locations maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, and historic buildings were closed to visitors.  Government-backed mortgages and support to social programming such as WIC were delayed, and Armed Services Reservists were told not to report to duty.  Civilian government employees, such as the 8,700 non-military personnel employed by Wright-Patterson AFB, were told to go home unpaid until further notice.  In fact, approximately 52,000 federal employees in Ohio look to be off of the job indefinitely.  Surrounding business and restaurants have no doubt been affected as fewer Ohio employees frequented the businesses local to their place of work.

One week later, the effects of the Government Shutdown on Ohio economy and morale is becoming more certain.  What is uncertain though, are the effects of the shutdown on Ohio education.  From K-12 to colleges and universities, experts and researchers are considering the impact the Government Shutdown will have on Ohio education for a time to come.  From the educational influence of field trips and government funded programs such as free or reduced lunches to federal aid, there is little doubt that students at every age level in Ohio will be affected.  Educational reporting, data collection, research funding, and statistics retrieval have all been affected by the shutdown of major information centers such as the Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics and Library of Congress.  

According to Molly Greenberg, Education Staff Writer for In the Capital, the government shutdown at the higher education level will not impact the awarding of student aid or servicing of loans – at least for now.  Commercial student-loan servicers will have to wait to receive compensation and no new contracts will be awarded.  Greenberg went on to express that should a shutdown last more than a week, cash flow to colleges and federal grants would be severely curtailed.   Likewise, as more than 90 percent of Education Department Staff have been furloughed, colleges and universities throughout Ohio will inevitably experience a delay in receiving grants later in the year.  In addition to the long-term effect on aid, those who work for campus-based aid programs like Federal Work-Study will also be furloughed.  Unfortunately for Ohio’s Veteran and Armed Services Students, Congress has not yet approved the 2013-14 fiscal year budgets, and with the shutdown, have had their Federal Tuition Assistance suspended indefinitely. 

Ohio’s Public K-12 education is likely to not be affected should the shutdown be a short-term event.  Funding for child nutrition programs, Head Start, Title I, special education, and career and technical education is likely to be unchanged should the shutdown persist only within October.  That said, a long-term shutdown as expressed by Alyson Klein from Edweek, will severely curtail cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on the support.  Where K-12 has been most affected during the shutdown is in enrichment activities such as fieldtrips to our nation’s parks, historic locations, NASA, and other federally supported locations.

Written By: DiAnna Palmer, Franklin University AIE Team

Further sources of reading to identify how a National Shutdown will affect your education include:

The Shutdown and Education: Your Cheat Sheet by Alyson Klein of Edweek
How University Research Funding and Financial Aid will be Affected by Government Shutdown by Molly Greenberg of InTheCapital
Shutdown Looms by Michael Stratford of Inside Higher Ed
Government shutdown 2013: Furloughs, closures begin as Ohio feels effects by Dan Sewell of the Associated Press


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