Partial government shutdown could slow down federal financial aid for students
The partial government shutdown has gone on for more than a month now and thousands of families and organizations are feeling the effects.
Students at Chattanooga State are still getting federal loans and grants despite the shutdown, but students filling out the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) for the first time could run into some roadblocks.
"Having to balance 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of school, along with trying to keep a healthy lifestyle, that is a huge responsibility, and one I'm having a hard enough time with," said Alexander Clifford, a sophomore at the college.
Clifford is a full time student with a full time job, a pretty common theme for college students. It's stressful enough, but when he learned about the partial government shutdown there was an added concern about whether or not loans and grants would still pay tuition.
"Usually there's a lot of problems with financial aid just in general; but because of this, it made it a lot rockier," said Clifford.
Reed Allison, the college's financial aid director, tells Channel 3 that most students won't have a problem.
However, new FAFSA applicants may need to do some extra work.
Allison said some students need to provide tax documents on their application, which they cannot get because the IRS is closed.
"Fortunately, the Department of Education gave us some alternatives so we can use some alternate types of documentation to get them through the financial aid process," Allison explained.
He said as long as the Department of Education is operating, students should not have a problem getting aid. However, Clifford is prepared in case the shutdown threatens to place a hold on his education.
"If students can't actually get the funds they need to participate in education then they're going to have a lot of roadblocks going forward," he said.
The FAFSA deadline is February 1.
Allison said about 30% of FAFSA applicants are running into problems with IRS documentation.
At the beginning of this semester, about 30 students at Chattanooga State ran into problems. Allison said they helped them find alternative documentation so they could apply for aid.
Stay with the WRCB app for continuing coverage of the government shutdown.