Federal government shutdown affects UC Davis

Federal government shutdown affects UC Davis

Photo Credits: GAGE SKIDMORE [(CC BY-SA 2.0)] / FLICKR

Some research grants delayed, already-awarded federal financial aid not at risk

UC Davis, a federally-funded institution, is not immune to the effects of the ongoing federal government shutdown. This means that research grants, student immigration cases and financial aid may be delayed across the university.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and U.S. Department of Agriculture are examples of some of the departments that have closed and aren’t receiving funding. The NSF distributes the funding for research done by graduate students and professors in UC Davis science departments.

The federal government’s partial shutdown came after Congress didn’t approve a $5 billion funding allocation for the construction of a physical wall along the southern border. As a result, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are not being paid.

The UC Davis Office of Research assured that most federal research grants have already been dispersed for the fiscal 2019 year, but others, like the National Science Foundation, have not. According to the UCOP, university science researchers who are funded by the NSF have not been paid since December and will not be paid until the agency reopens and the government shutdown ends.

New awards, funding increments, payments and prior approvals will be impacted or delayed because of the shutdown, according to Jean-Pierre Delplanque, the vice provost and dean of graduate studies.

Despite the delays, Delplanque urged those applying for grants to “please submit your application by the deadline published in the funding opportunity announcement, regardless of the status of the government shutdown. Continue working normally unless you receive guidance from your program to stop work. If you receive a stop work order or if [you] have not received your obligated funds, contact externalfellowships@ucdavis.edu immediately.”

Additionally, the UC Davis School of Law, which hosts the UC Immigrant Legal Law Center, said the shutdown has halted immigration cases, leaving trials stagnant while immigration judges are furloughed.

“Thousands of immigration cases have been postponed as a result of the federal government shutdown,” a post on the school’s website read. “Immigration judges have been furloughed, and only cases involving migrants in custody are moving forward. Because of already crowded judicial calendars, postponed matters may not be heard for years. According to the New York Times, delayed proceedings in busy New York immigration courts may not take place until 2022 or 2023.”

Kimberly Hale, of UC Davis news and media relations, spoke about the importance of the funding that fuels scientific research.

“The University of California urges Congress and the administration to quickly reach an agreement to re-open the federal government,” Hale said via email. “Many of the agencies affected by this shutdown provide critical funding for important research underway by our students, faculty and staff across the university system.”

Hale mentioned the federal Pell Grant program, which provides financial aid to low-income students. She said students currently receiving the grants should not be affected.

The IRS’ closure troubles those who need tax returns from the IRS to apply for aid. Students who want to apply for federal aid may be delayed because the online application may be locked out from federal online databases that confirm their identities.

“We are pleased that earlier this year, Congress was able to provide strong investments for federal financial aid programs – including an increase in Pell Grant funding – and that our students currently receiving this aid are not affected by the shutdown,” Hale said. “However, as a key partner with UC in pursuit of scientific and technological breakthroughs that keep our state and the nation at the forefront of innovation, we urge Congress and the administration to immediately fund […] agencies that have been affected by this shutdown. We are continu[ing] to closely monitor the situation.”

The White House claims that even though the IRS is down, tax returns will still be paid out during the shutdown.

Written By: Aaron Liss — campus@theaggie.org