Influence of shutdown varies on campus

Students at the University of South Dakota will not see a direct impact from the partial shutdown the United States federal government is experiencing, as day-to-day operations of the university are state and tuition funded.

“There is no immediate impact on (South Dakota Board of Regents institutions),” said Janelle Toman, director of communications for South Dakota Board of Regents.

Federally funded financial aid should not see an immediate impact according to the U.S. Department of Education Contingency Plan released Friday. The memo said Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans would still continue to be funded and operational with the minimal number of employees.

The Department of Education furloughed 3,983 employees, which accounts for 90 percent of its staff.

While the university as a whole should not see an impact on services, certain departments will experience setbacks in funding and staff.

USD’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is not loosing any funding for research, but is experiencing other issues.

Laura J. Jenski, vice president for research at USD, said her department’s biggest issue is communicating with federal agencies such as the National Institute of Health.

“(The shutdown) is affecting our access to programs and information, that is a big deal,” Jenski said.

While most research can continue during the shutdown, Jenski said there are some research projects that work with agencies such as the National Park Service. The NPS shut down all 401 national parks in the country. Research on NPS properties is not possible during the shutdown.

Jenski also said many federal agencies will not create any new grants or programs.

“Everything would be put on hold.” Jenski said.

Research should continue as normal at Sioux Falls-based Sanford Research said a spokesman for Sanford Health.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) furloughed two Army Civilian Personnel who support ROTC at USD, but should not effect students in the program.

“The Government shutdown has no direct impact to our Cadets or the support they receive as a cadet,” said Ross Nelson, Lieutenant Colonel and professor of Military Science.

Nelson said military personal and contracted employees would continue to support ROTC operations at USD.

Veteran Affairs said all payments of the GI bill will continue, but support services such as the 800 number for veterans are disabled.

“The GI bill almost never gets effected (in a government shutdown),” said Jason Dean, director of veteran services and GI Bill benefits certifying official.

Military tuition assistance is paid for the fall semester, but tuition assistance is suspended for classes beginning on or after Oct. 1 according to the U.S. Army’s website. How that will effect the spring semester has not been determined yet.

As of print on late Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a bill offering short-term funding for the national parks, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Washington D.C. services.

“My basic message to Congress is this: Pass a budget. End the government shutdown. Pay your bills. Prevent an economic shutdown. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. Don’t put our economy or our people through this any longer,” said President Barack Obama in a speech on Tuesday.

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