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Answers to the Government Shutdown and FAFSA Applications

Red haired female student sits at a computer reading a website.

The partial federal government shutdown enters its 24th day, the longest shutdown in U.S history, surpassing the 21-day shutdown under President Clinton in 1995-96. During this period, non-essential government services that lack funding are closed.

The good news is that the U.S Department of Education is fully funded so it is not directly affected by the current shutdown. Across the SUNY System, we understand that due to the shutdown of other federal agencies, there may be concern regarding applying for and the processing of financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We have answers for those who need them.

What happens to my FAFSA Application during the federal shutdown?

There has been no interruption in the processing of the FAFSA applications. The federal student aid offices are currently operational, so students can continue to file their free application for financial aid and they will be processed accordingly.

Does completing my FAFSA for 2018-19 change?

There are no issues for students who have already filed a completed FAFSA for 2018-19 and returning this Spring. Students should continue to apply and not defer attendance.

Some applications that need additional matching with other federal agencies to complete the processing of individual FAFSA’s may encounter a slight delay. These include selective service, eligible non-citizenship, drug convictions and income verification as these require verified information by other parts of the federal government that are closed, including parts of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. However, the Department of Education released guidance to assist campuses in handling students whose FAFSA requires special handling by allowing flexibility with the documentation.

The deadline for aid for the 2018-19 academic year is June 30, 2019.

At SUNY, we compiled a step by step process which takes you through the “typical” FAFSA application process. If you have any further questions, please contact staff in campus Financial Aid Offices. If you require additional information in regards to filling out a FAFSA, you can check out the DOE Federal Student Aid website.

    Written by Jill O'Brien


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