by Chris McGlynn
American high school and college students are often removed from the political world around them. In fact, the lowest voter turnout often comes from 18 to 25 year-olds according to civicyouth.org. (This information comes fromcivicyouth.org because the census website is not accessible at this time due to the government shutdown.) Usually, students ignore political events under the impression that the political world does not directly affect them. However, the government shutdown impacts students more than they might realize.
For the first time since 1995, the United States government has shut down and withdrawn funding for many college-related programs, including ROTC. For example, American University and the University of Minnesota have announced that their ROTC students will not be receiving October stipends typically paid for by the government, according tobusinessinsider.com.
There is also the possibility that grants to aid students will be withheld until Congress agrees on a budget, specifically those tied to federal programs, according to educationquest.org. This will apply to seniors who would be eligible for scholarships next fall, assuming the shutdown is not lifted.
Additionally, funding for student research in college has come to a complete halt. According to usatoday.com, the funding was deemed “nonessential” and has been stopped for the time being. The funding will continue to be withheld until the shutdown is lifted. Another program affected is Federal Work-Study (FWS). According to ed.gov, “The FWS program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education.” The current stoppage has left students who are already part of the program uncertain whether they are to continue working.
Clearly, this government shutdown plays a large role in the lives of current and future college students. It is an event that students should feel passionate about, and it should fuel them to make a change. After all, if this does not solicit a reaction from students, then maybe the knowledge that all of this is happening while Congress is still getting paid will.
Disclaimer: At press time, the government shutdown was still in effect, and staffers chose to address this serious situation. As of today, the government is back up and running, but the staff believes that their commentary on the shutdown is still valuable.