SRU encourages students to submit FAFSAs despite government shutdown
Slippery Rock University encourages incoming and current students applying for federal student aid to continue submitting their applications despite the current federal government shutdown.
Jan. 17, 2019
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The longest shutdown of the federal government in U.S. history is affecting how applications for federal student aid are being processed, but Slippery Rock University's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is encouraging current and incoming students to continue following the process for submitting their Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.
"You can still complete your FAFSA and we will apply your federal aid," said Alyssa Dobson, SRU director of financial aid and scholarships. "Your loans and your grant funds aren't disrupted; all of those things are working smoothly."
Not working smoothly, or rather "on hold," are applications that need to be checked with government agencies like Selective Services, the Social Security Administration and other entities that verify applications with government databases for information like citizenship. According to Dobson, applications submitted before the shutdown started Dec. 22, 2018, are not affected but some applications that require certain information to be verified will be flagged and the process will be completed once the shutdown ends.
"There are no additional steps the students need to take," Dobson said. "When the agencies are back up and running, then they'll reprocess them and our office will be sent new copies and everything will be fine."
Dobson said not all FAFSAs submitted during the shutdown will be affected, but first-time applicants will likely require verification from agencies that are currently shut down. She also added that a prolonged government shutdown will create a backlog of applications that will need to be processed, but payment of student aid will be applied as long as the government shutdown doesn't extend all the way until the fall 2019 semester.
The Department of Education, which is fully funded, also made an adjustment last week to a separate process because of the government shutdown. The department conducts a verification process of selected FAFSA filers. Previously, that process required tax transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service, but now through the 2019-20 FAFSA processing and verification cycles, signed income tax returns will be accepted as verification.
"About one third of our students are selected for the verification process, which is similar to a tax audit," Dobson said. "Through this process, we are required to validate and check everything that we put on the FAFSA. We no longer have to go through the IRS, which is a huge relief."
Dobson encourages students to continue submitting their FAFSAs and if they have any questions to contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at: 724.738.2044 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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