Legislative Activity

Impact of Government Shutdown

The government shutdown is already affecting a variety of education programs and its impact will continue to grow as the shutdown lingers. Below is a sampling of what is and is not directly affected by the shutdown:

  • The Department of Education has furloughed approximately 90 percent of its employees.
  • Pell Grants and student loans will continue to be paid out, but campus-based aid (e.g., Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study Grants) will not.
  • Most of Title I and II funding (allocated to local education agencies and teacher quality), funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and career and technical education will continue to be paid.
  • Many grant-making agencies like the National Institutes of Health will not process new grant applications or awards and others are issuing stop-work orders to research awardees.
  • Programs in at least 5 states have closed their Head Start programs due to the shutdown, and an additional 23 programs in 11 states with grants that were not renewed last Tuesday, October 1 are at risk of closure.
  • Many civilian faculty at the U.S. military service academies have been furloughed, either causing a delay or cancellation of some classes.
  • Many hearings and legislative activities related to education policy have been postponed until further notice, while the Department of Education has not been able to provide technical assistance and other services to grantees and customers.

Moreover, last week President Barack Obama warned that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by mid-October would have harsher ramifications, including a potential spike in student loan interest rates.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 9: As part of the Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee series on college affordability, the subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “Keeping College Within Reach: Simplifying Federal Student Aid.”

This Week’s Events:

  • Monday, October 7: The Congressional E-Learning Caucus is scheduled to hold a briefing titled “The College Degree of the Future,” to discuss how innovations designed to “unbundle” the college degree are increasing access and affordability in higher education and related implications for federal policy.