KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The federal government’s partial shutdown won’t affect student financial aid as much as some might fear, University of Tennessee officials said Friday.
In effect, student aid and research contracts approved by the government and UT prior to the mid-December shutdown will to be in force in the spring semester, the officials said.
Rich Bishop, acting director of financial aid at UT-Knoxville, said his campus has about 12,000 students receiving some form of federal aid — loans, grants, work-study and veterans’ benefits — but fewer than 10 percent will be affected.
“We have about 4,700 students at UT-Chattanooga who’ll receive federal aid this semester, but only 200 of them are affected by the shutdown,” said Joel Harrell, UTC’s financial aid director.
“The students who would be inconvenienced are those who were applying for aid for the first time or whose paperwork was still in the government pipeline when the government shut down in mid-December,” Bishop said.
The same is true for federal research contracts, said Carolyn Webb in the UT-Knoxville research administration office.
“Basically, they told us if we have existing (research) contracts we can continue to work,” she said.
Students who got their federal checks in the fall semester “will receive their spring checks (from UT) in a timely manner,” Bishop said.
“They’ll never even know there was an inconvenience because the government was shut down. Their checks will still come along.”
It’s an internal cash-flow matter for the university and, until the shutdown ends and federal checks start flowing again, the 11,000 UTK students already approved for federal aid will continue to receive it from UT, Bishop said.
If the government shutdown continues into the spring, the 11,000 UT-Knoxville students receiving federal aid would be affected in 1996-97 because there would be no one to process their applications for the school year beginning July 1.
Contacts: Rich Bishop, UT-Knoxville (423-974-3131) Joel Harrell, UT-Chattanooga (615-755-4677) Randy Hall, UT-Martin (901-587-4368) Carolyn Webb, UT-Knoxville (423-974-2482)