With no signs of progress in crafting a bipartisan funding extension, a federal government shutdown looks all but inevitable starting October 1.
The closure will affect government staffing, program administration and the distribution of public benefits. All non-essential federal personnel would likely be furloughed, including those at the Education Department (ED), Department of Labor and other federal agencies that work closely with community colleges.
Administration of federal financial aid should continue as usual. However, community colleges should expect disruption to institutional grant administration and decreased technical assistance and support from federal agency officials, due to staffing constraints. This could be particularly disruptive for financial aid administrators working with ED to prepare to implement the new 2024-25 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and aid calculation and for borrowers reentering repayment in October.
Finally, if the shutdown lasts longer than 30 days, many students who rely on public benefits programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will see their benefits reduced or eliminated. In that instance, colleges should expect an increase in students taking advantage of campus food banks or other community resources.