How the Government Shutdown Impacts GW

University officials weigh in on what the GW community should know about the federal government shutdown.

January 20, 2018

By Kristen Mitchell

After failing to reach a spending deal by the end of Friday night, the federal government has shut down for the first time since 2013. To help students, faculty and staff navigate what this means for the GW community we have spoken to university officials about what you should know.

Q: How long is the government shutdown likely to last?

A: We cannot speculate how long the government shutdown will be. However, the last government shutdown, in 2013, lasted 16 days. The longest one in the 1990s lasted more than 20 days. In the 1970s and 1980s, shutdowns were actually pretty common during times of divided government, though most lasted only a couple days.

Q: Will the day-to-day lives of students and GW employees be affected?

The university will continue to operate normally as will D.C. government services and regional services such as Metro.

Q:  How will students’ financial aid be impacted by the shutdown?

A: The impact on student financial aid will be minimal. All federal aid programs will continue to be processed, however, students who hold an off-campus Federal Work Study position at a federal agency will not be allowed to work during the shutdown if their worksite is closed. The Student Employment Office has contacted affected students, who should follow instructions from their off-campus job supervisors.

Q: What will happen to faculty members’ research grants and contracts?

A: Most grants will probably be unaffected by the shutdown. However, there are specific cases in which faculty members may need to halt their research. Typically, this would be because they are conducting their work at a federal facility or because they need guidance from the agency to proceed in their research. We will work with faculty members in specific instances in which research may need to be suspended on grants and contracts. Faculty who receive notice from a program officer related to a government shutdown should contact the Office of the Vice President for Research immediately. Additionally, the system will be operational, but may only accept and store applications. Applications may not be processed until such time as the funding and normal business operations are restored. Submission due dates should be adhered to.

Q: How will student veterans be impacted in the event of a government shutdown?

A: Educational benefit processing, including basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments, could be delayed, along with payments for tuition and mandatory fees. GW has in place several avenues to support students during the government shutdown. Late fees and interest, per existing GW policy, relating to the forthcoming benefit payments will be waived for military students who are experiencing a delay in the processing of their Tuition Assistance or Department of Veteran Affairs benefits. Individuals should contact the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services if they have any questions. Please note that students are responsible for balances not covered by educational benefit payments.

There are also emergency loans available for military students whose payments have been disrupted by the government shutdown and/or default. Please contact the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services to discuss your financial needs and to set in motion in the emergency funding process.

University News


How Might a Government Shutdown Affect the University?

September 29, 2013
Kent Springfield, director of federal government relations, explains the ways in which a shutdown could affect students, faculty and D.C. residents.