Government shutdown restricts MU students’ lives in unexpected ways
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 02:10
From road trips to research, the government shutdown is affecting Miami University students in a variety of unexpected ways.
For sophomore Emily Tate, the shutdown meant changing her fall break road trip plans to visit a national park. Tate and a friend had planned to spend the break travelling through Virginia and North Carolina, stopping at Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountain range along the way.
According to the Department of the Interior’s website, Shenandoah and 400 other national parks closed when the government shut down Oct. 1. When Tate realized she would not be able to visit Shenandoah, she he made other travel arrangements, but said due to the shutdown, she and her friend would be staying in one place rather than traveling around.
The effects of the shutdown hit closer to home for sophomore Alison Thomas. She witnessed the impact the government shutdown was having in the nation’s capital when she returned home to a suburb of Washington, D.C. over the break.
Thomas said her whole neighborhood, including her father, an FBI agent of 27 years, was affected. Her father was furloughed and is uncertain when he will see his next paycheck.
“In Oxford, since we’re in such a bubble, we don’t really realize how many people are affected,” Thomas said. “People really aren’t aware of how extreme the situation is.”
However, Miami is not immune to the shutdown’s effects. Students will miss out on research opportunities if faculty are unable to receive funding for new projects, according to Heather Johnston, the assistant director and information coordinator at Miami’s Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship. Established research funding will not be revoked, but the tools to submit proposals are not available.
Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship Jim Oris said the government shutdown poses a threat for research at Miami.
“The research funding environment is already extremely competitive, and the daily postponement of proposal submissions, reviews and subsequent awards further erodes our capacity to conduct meaningful research with our students,” Oris said, “The longer the shutdown stretches on, the greater the risk for significant impact to Miami’s research and education programs.”
One area that will not be affected by the shutdown is student financial aid, despite rumors to the contrary, according to Director of Student Financial Assistance Brent Shock.
“All those funds that students are eligible for were earmarked by the Federal Government prior to the shutdown for the entire year, so there is no impact there,” Shock said.
FAFSA’s website released a statement saying, “In the event of a government shutdown, we anticipate that there will be limited impact to the federal student aid application (FAFSA) process, to the delivery of student aid or to the federal student loan repayment functions.”
If the shutdown does not end soon though, the United States government will find itself out of funds to pay off debt. If the government cannot pay its debts to U.S. Treasury bond holders like the Chinese and Japanese governments, as well as U.S. pension funds, it will default.
The consequences of a default are unclear, but the U.S. Treasury issued a report predicting a grim outcome.
“The negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse,” the report said.
According to the U.S. Treasury’s website, some of these spillovers include high interest rates, reduced investment, higher debt payments and slower economic growth.