The federal government shutdown has yet to have any major impact on Central Michigan University, although that could change if it continues into November.
The university’s ability to submit grant proposals is one of the few operations feeling any effects in the three days since the federal government shut down over a congressional failure to reach an agreement on funding.
The ROTC is also feeling the pinch after having two of its staff members members furloughed. In addition, the university medical clinic has been reduced to 30 percent of its usual staff and is not admitting new patients into drug trials at this time.
“Unless the stoppage goes into November, then we will not see any major impacts from the stoppage,” Provost Michael Gealt said. “I suspect in the coming week or two, we should see a resolution. It should be quick enough to where the issues we are worrying about won’t be real issues.”
Federal grant submissions have come to a stop, but any funding already given to CMU is still available to be spent, Gealt said.
Students receiving federal Pell grants and loans will also not feel any effects of the shutdown.
“The (U.S.) Department of Education is forward-funded,” Gealt said. “They give us the money for the students we have receiving Pell grants and service federal loans before the semester, so there is no issue. The money is already here, so there is no impact and we are dispersing it as we usually would.”
Should the shutdown last for several more weeks, however, it is unclear what kind of impact the university will feel.
“(Global Campus students) may not be able to process tuition payments,” Gealt said. “We are not sure how broad this is. They are working with the Global Campus to get a handle on whether it will be all government agencies and how many students it will impact.”
If any issues do end up coming to fruition, Gealt wants to make sure students are not affected.
“We don’t want any student to be negatively impacted by the federal shutdown,” he said. “If there is a problem, which forces us to step in and forgive students of tuition fees so they can come to school, we will do that. This is not the students’ fault.”
Washington lawmakers remain at an impasse over funding the government.
Most congressional Republicans are calling for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to be delayed, rolled back or defeated in order for a continuing resolution to pass.
Democrats have called on House Republicans to pass a “clean” CR without an Obamacare provision attached to it.
A meeting between President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday was fruitless, resulting in no agreement to end the shutdown.
For now, Gealt is taking it day-by-day.
“I am trying each day to keep myself addressed with the issues,” he said. “We don’t want to make policies based on rumors. As soon as we get paper documentation, we will act on it.”