April 7, 2011 | Brenda Clemons, online education | 4 Comments Fiscal Budget Disagreement A government shutdown is looming large as Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on a fiscal budget.Â Â If an agreement is not reached by midnight Friday, the Federal government will shut down and everyone but essential employees will be furloughed.Â What does this mean for higher education? It is not likely that the shutdown will be noticed by students already enrolled in college. Since colleges operate on their own budgets, they are independent ofÂ any financial burden.Â However,Â it is likely that new students applying for financial aid may experience a delay in having theirÂ paperwork processed.Â But this does not mean that their aid will be denied or that financial aid will no longer be available.Â Once the government is up and running, everything should get back on track quickly. University based research is safe from interruption because federal grants and money going towards projects are paid out a year in advance. 1995 Financial Crisis This is not the first time that the government has shut down. It happened during the Clinton administration in 1995, when a budget could not be reached and caused a 3 week shut down.Â College financial aid officers and others are going on what happened in 1995 as a model for what is likely to happen this time around. In the 1995 shut down, colleges saw a delay in the processing of new financial aid applications because there was no one to verify studentÂ information.Â There was also a delay in communication with the Education Department.Â Other disruptions involved more upper level management operations of college administration, such as reviews and audits.Â Current students with financial aid already in place saw no change because their allotment of money was already paid. It is unlikely that any shutdown will have long term consequences.Â In the 1995 shutdown, federal grant applications had been caught up in only a three month period. Do you want to know the facts about Financial Aid Options?