At most, the government shutdown is an inconvenience for research grants, but University of Richmond is not anticipating any disruption in terms of federal funding, said David Hale, vice president for business and finance.
The university was granted about $2 million in the 2013 fiscal year, Hale said, and the payment process of those grants is expected to continue. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the more than 14 million students who receive direct federal student loans and Pell grants will continue to receive them “dependent on the length of the lapse.” In the short term, Richmond does not expect much of an impact from the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government.
With respect to federal grants, several organizations have urged researchers to hold their grant submissions until everything is back to normal, said Laurie Melville, associate vice president and controller, said.
“It’s definitely an inconvenience and there will be some hold-ups for people trying to revise budgets,” she said, “But it’s not going to be too terribly dramatic if Congress gets its act together.”
The government shutdown started Oct. 1, after Congress failed to pass a federal budget by the end of the September deadline. According to the Constitution, Congress must pass a spending bill and the president must approve it for the federal government to have legal authority to spend money.
When a government shutdown occurs, many federally funded entities are forced to close. This includes all national parks, several public museums and national archives, according to a USA Today article about the implications of the shutdown. Also, all “nonessential” government employees have been furloughed, meaning they must take temporary, unpaid leave. According to National Geographic, there are 401 national parks. Eighteen of these parks are in Virginia and one is in Richmond: the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
This is the 18th partial government shutdown since 1977, according to the Congressional Research Service. The most recent one occurred December 1995 through January 1996 and lasted a record 21 days. The shutdown will end immediately after President Barack Obama signs a spending bill, but there has been a lack of agreement between the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate about the funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
From a higher education perspective, Hale said the shutdown would probably start to impact schools that are more dependent on federal research dollars to help support their school operations.
“That is not the position University of Richmond or most private liberal arts colleges and universities are in,” he said. “We’re not very dependent on federal funds for our operations.”
Contact staff writer Kylie McKenna at email@example.com