How the government shutdown is affecting college students

The government shutdown impacted most people around the country, including many college students.The shutdown of the federal government is having many effects beyond political turmoil.1 For college students and young people, the ramifications are more widespread than they might initially seem. Student loan rates will potentially be affected, popular leisure and educational attractions have been shuttered, some food products aren’t being inspected and, of particular importance for those who have served in the military and their family members, certain death benefits aren’t being paid. Even Antarctica is feeling the effects of the shutdown, with funding for its spring research season possibly being cut.2

Shutdown’s impact on states

According to a Shutdown Report from the that ranks how big of an economic impact government gridlock is having on states, most of the states that have felt the biggest shockwaves are east of the Mississippi, with Virginia, Alabama and Washington, D.C., (which the report treats as a state) taking up three of the top four spots.3 But Western states are certainly not immune. Alaska, where 15,000 of the state’s more than 700,000 residents (roughly 2 percent of the population) are employed by the federal government, came in second. And Idaho, Hawaii, Washington, Utah and Arizona were also in the top 15 most-affected states.

Parks and monuments closed

One of the most widely reported aspects of the shutdown has been the closing of national parks and monuments. Access to the Grand Canyon has been cut off, and park rangers are writing citations for trespassers.4 Sites in Washington D.C. that normally make the city a destination for tourists and school groups, like the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial, have been closed off, making for a ghost town-like atmosphere at places that are normally teeming with people, and keeping high school and college students from being able to experience American history and culture firsthand.

Student loans feeling the effects of shutdown

While student loans have continued to be paid out during the shutdown, if the impasse leads to a government default due to a failure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in the coming weeks, student loans could become a casualty of the process. In fact, with government employees who handle Pell Grants and student loans already furloughed, the ripple effects of the shutdown are already being felt by college students.5 That could make things difficult for students pursuing a medical assistant diploma, pharmacy technician degree or any other discipline, as they attempt to navigate the loan process without the amount of help that would normally be available. 1 Jablonski, Ray, “U.S. Government Shutdown has Many Lesser-known Side Effects,” The Cleveland Plains-Dealer, Oct. 8, 2013. 2 Greenfield-Boyce, Nell, “Even Antarctica Feels Effects of Government Shutdown,”, Oct. 7, 2013. ​3 Staff, “WalletHub Shutdown Report: Most and Least Affected States,” 4 CNN Staff, “5 Crazy Side Effects From the Shutdown,”, Oct. 9, 2013. 5 Staff, “From the Daily: Federal Inaction, Local Effects,” The Michigan Daily, Oct. 8, 2013.

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