With the current federal government shutdown looking to continue indefinitely, financial aid disbursements should remain unaffected for now. However, according to Peggy Metzger, director of the financial aid office at HSU, about 50 to 60 students may see some setbacks.
“The biggest impact is the students selected for verification and not being able to get information from the IRS,” Metzger said.
The first financial aid disbursements are set to be released on Monday Jan. 14. About 30% of the students who file for financial aid must go through a verification process through the IRS, to ensure that they need the funds they claim. Metzger said that the Department of Education has recently loosened their regulations and that the verification process should be easier.
“We can work with any students that may need the help,” Metzger said. “As long as the Federal Student Aid office stays open we should be fine. In previous shutdowns, the Department of Education has always stayed open.”
Operators in the HSU financial aid office have said that they have received phone calls from students inquiring about any possible effects from the shutdown, but the university has yet to issue any sort of formal statement. The lack of notice from the university has some students worried about what may be happening with their disbursements.
“The university hasn’t said anything, I haven’t got their usual emails,” said Anthony Julien, a senior majoring in zoology. “We got the email that something was due, but we didn’t get anything about [disbursements] being held up. I am concerned about it since the shutdown is going to continue.”
Steven Schafer, an environmental science and monitoring junior, is also concerned about the shutdown’s effects.
“I need my money to go to school,” Schafer said. “I need FAFSA. The university probably isn’t going to release a statement. I’m not optimistic about it to say the least.”
Metzger, who has been employed at HSU for 17 years, said she has been out of the office doing work with the admissions office lately and had not seen the need to release a statement.
“I had not thought about it, but it may not be a bad idea,” Metzger said. “I am always cautious about causing more questions than are necessary and more worry when there doesn’t need to be.”
When questioned if the university was doing enough to let students know what was going on, Schafer had this to say.
“No, they are definitely not doing enough,” Schafer said. “It is so stupid.”