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Government shutdown and The University of Montana

Published On: Oct 03 2013 04:05:25 PM MDT
royce engstrom
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The following is a release sent out by UM President Royce Engstrom.

As the federal government shutdown enters its third day, there should be no immediate negative effects to the health of the University of Montana as an institution. However, it becomes more difficult to predict impacts if the shutdown drags on over an extended period. Below is a summary of how the shutdown might or might not affect UM:

Funded Research
The University's research enterprise should be relatively unaffected, but some cash reimbursements from federal granting agencies will be delayed. Contact with federal research program officers will be difficult, and grant-submission portals have been shut down. UM researchers using federal facilities and national parks also may be affected. For more information, call the Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship at 243-6670.

Student Financial Aid
Federal financial aid will not be affected in the short term because all funding was approved in the previous fiscal year. However, if the debt ceiling is not raised later this month, then it could impact UM students who want to borrow a federal student loan, as the federal government could not incur new debt. UM students who have accepted loans but not finished the application process may be affected. For more information, call the Financial Aid Office at 243-5504.

UM Veterans
UM veterans should be unaffected in the short term. However, if the shutdown lingers into the third or fourth week of October, the Department of Veterans Affairs will run out of funding and stop processing claims. Employees with UM's Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) Office are concerned that claims processing will be slowed if the shutdown continues into next week. For more information, call the VETS Office at 243-2744.

International Students and International Travel
Foreign students attending UM should not be affected by the government shutdown, as the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program is funded by fees and does not receive government-appropriated funds. As for UM students or employees traveling abroad, the U.S. Department of State will continue to offer passport and visa services as long as it has non-appropriated funds such as fees for services. The State Department won't speculate on how long those funds will last. For more information, call the Office of Foreign Student & Scholar Services at 406-243-2226 regarding incoming international students and scholars and the Office of International Programs at 243-2288 for UM students and employees traveling abroad.