Student support during partial government shutdown

UAF’s Division of Student Affairs has analyzed the impact of the partial government shutdown on students and has put in place temporary policies and workarounds to help students continue their enrollment. 

Financial Aid  

Federal Financial Aid

The US Department of Education’s budget is not affected by the shutdown. Loan processing and payments have not slowed. However, some applications for aid are impacted:

  • Students selected for verification — The IRS is closed, which has an impact on students who were selected for verification (approximately 1/3 of federal aid applicants are selected). Students are required to collect Tax Return Transcripts from the IRS to complete this process. On Tuesday, January 8, the Department of Education announced acceptance of signed 1040s in lieu of the Tax Return Transcript. Students who did not file taxes are still required to collect a Verification of Non-Filing Letter from the IRS. The Department of Education has given schools the authority to waive this requirement if they feel the student cannot access this letter. UAF Financial Aid has determined that the IRS shutdown is reason to waive this requirement and accept the student statement only. Financial Aid staff reviewed the incomplete files and are contacting students this week. The forms and instructions have been updated.

  • New male applicants —The Selective Service System is closed. 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 FAFSAs filed during the shutdown cannot be matched with Selective Service registrants. A flag will appear on these FAFSA records requiring UAF to verify a male student has registered with the selective service. Financial Aid staff will assist the student with providing that verification online. At this time, Financial Aid have verified all students. FAFSA records will be resent through the database match system once the shutdown is over, removing the extra step for students.

The FAFSA also matches with the following offices that are shutdown, but at this time, UAF does not know of any students impacted. Financial Aid can work individually with each case to assess alternatives:

  • Social Security Administration (matches SSN to name and birthday to verify identity)
  • Department of Homeland Security (citizenship match)
  • Department of Justice (drug felonies)
  • Department of Defense (Iraq and Afghanistan Grant recipients) 

VA Education Benefits

The Department of Veteran Affairs is not impacted by the partial government shutdown. All VA Education Benefits are being processed normally. Some vocational rehabilitation counselors are funded through other federal departments and are not at work. This could affect Voc Rehab/Chapter 31 students who do not have approvals for payment extending through spring term. At this time, UAF has not identified any students in this situation. 

Payment Plans

The Office of the Bursar will offer deferred payment plans and waive the plan’s enrollment fee to students who are unable to pay their bill due to the partial government shutdown and can provide verification. The deferred payment plan extends the payment deadline to March 29th.

Textbook Scholarships

The Office of the Bursar offers textbook loans up to $300 through an online process with no verification required.

Registration Late Fees

The Office of the Registrar will waive late-add fees for students impacted by the partial government shutdown who add a class after the deadline for adding courses.