Last week, the federal government shut down when Congress could not agree on a continuing resolution to fund the government, but the shutdown could also end up affecting Florida Southern College students.
The House voted to delay Obamacare in the government’s spending plan. The Senate rejected the measure, the spending plan was not approved and the government shut down.
“The problem is that the Republicans won’t sign a continuing resolution…to fund the government while they work on the budget,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, associate professor of political science.
Continuing resolutions are made to tide the government over until a budget is approved.
If the government remains closed into the next semester, some students may find it difficult to pay their tuition bills.
“Our dependency on federal dollars is really through our students because our students receive things like Pell Grants and subsidized federal loans and things like that,” Anderson said. “All of those dollars will stop flowing during something like this.”
William Healy, FSC director of financial aid, said that the federal government usually pays federal grants and loans “within the first 10 days of the semester.”
“By and large, the students here at Florida Southern have already been paid prior to the shutdown,” Healy said.
Terry Dennis, FSC vice president of finance and administration, said that the school was prepared if there were any exceptions.
“But if there were the individual student who had applied for something, and we know they’re going to get it, and it just hasn’t come in, from our side we’re going to look at that, and that’s a student that we wouldn’t flag with a hold from pre-registration or something because we know the funding’s going to come in as soon as the government gets back 100 percent,” Dennis said.
Healy said that they have “not had any problems.”
“There is, at this point, no impact from the standpoint of a student being able to receive financial aid,” Healy said.
Dennis said it is unlikely that the government shutdown will last long enough to affect financial aid.
“That is one of those end of the world catastrophe things,” Dennis said.
Some students are already being affected though. During fall break, FSC’s ROTC battalion was scheduled to go to Jacksonville, a trip paid for by the government.
“We were supposed to do a field training exercise at Camp Blanding at Jacksonville,” Mackenzie Carlyon, a senior cadet in FSC’s ROTC Battalion, said. “It’s to have the juniors train and get ready for the big camp this summer, which is LDAC.”
LDAC is the Leadership Development and Assessment Course which evaluates juniors going into their senior year.
Several different colleges attend the event so their seniors can prepare. This year, FSC’s seniors were supposed to run the exercise’s logistics.
However, last week, Carlyon was told that the trip might be cancelled. Other cadets have faced uncertainty due to the government shutdown, but their scholarships have remained intact.
As of Oct. 10, the fate of the trip to Camp Blanding is unknown, but Carlyon has heard that the trip might still go forward.
ROTC is currently still making preparations to go ahead with the field exercise. If the exercise is cancelled then the department hopes to do a smaller, more local exercise to prepare their juniors according to Lt. Col. Scott LaRonde.
“Hopefully nothing like this happens again,” Carlyon said.
Members of Congress will continue to meet, and be paid with its own appropriation, while they try to work out a compromise.
“Only Congress can fulfill this function of restarting things,” Anderson said.
Photo by Ronald Schwarting
A/N: Since this article’s publication, it was learned that some teachers in the ROTC department had been furloughed. The teachers have now returned to work.