What Shutdown Could Mean for Incoming College Freshmen


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Haley Hartner, News Editor

As of December 22nd, the US government has been partially shut down after the Trump administration and opposing lawmakers could not agree about funding for the Mexican border wall.

While “accepted activities” that serve to uphold the protection of “life and property” are maintained, nine major government departments, including Homeland Security, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State and Treasury Department, and the Justice Department, have been affected.

Currently, over 800,000 government agency employees are living without pay- many of which are still working while others have been furloughed until the economic situation stabilizes.

This shutdown is nearing the longest length in US history, as the previous longest shutdown lasted just under three weeks. Unfortunately, there is no clear end in sight, nor will an end be considered until a compromise about the funding for Trump’s $5.7 billion border wall is made.

While the situation may currently only be affecting government workers and their families, if the shutdown continues for “months or years,” as Trump has recently threatened, the list victims may grow to include citizens as young as 18.

Students applying for the upcoming fall semester in colleges and universities may experience issues with their financial aid, specifically in regards to the submission of FAFSA’s, if the shutdown lasts past the summer of 2019. The process of applying and being approved for financial aid is a service provided by government workers and has to go through the federal government. More specifically, once a FAFSA is filed, the government must perform database searches to put information about an individual from the IRS into their FAFSA.

If the shutdown continues, the programs and government workers that perform these tasks may be hindered, jeopardizing student’s financial aid for the upcoming school year. Now, however, any issues with the government’s role in the distribution of financial aid for college students are minimal and are not affecting students in this current semester.

Whether the shutdown eventually impacts college students or not, the question still remains: How much longer should the American people allow themselves to be collateral damage in the power struggle between the current administration and Congress?

Opinions on whether or not a physical barrier between the United States and Mexico will improve our national security will inevitably vary, and shutting down the government may be a viable solution to prevent Congress from sweeping this campaign promise under the rug until the end of President Trump’s term. However, in the meantime, citizens are suffering and the list of victims is only expected to expand.

This tactic of manipulating politicians into submitting to partisan agendas leaves citizens paying for their inability to compromise.

A perfect example of this is Trump’s threat to cease federal relief to California after their November wildfires due to a preexisting “disgraceful” Forest Management. With at least 86 people killed and over 20,000 structures destroyed, in what is being called “the nation’s deadliest wildfire in at least a century,” a lack of government funding would be devastating to the citizens.

The use of a natural disaster to make a political statement is one example of many, in which the presidential administration has attempted to push its own agenda while leaving the people to deal with the consequences of the decision.

The American people will continue to be pawns in the government’s power struggle unless the individuals we elect to represent us do a better job at working with their opposers.