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Some college students could see financial aid disruptions during government shutdown

Ellen Abbott
Sharon Halpin, director of financial aid at Le Moyne College in Syracuse

The partial government shutdown could be having an impact on some students who get federal financial aid. 

Every day, Sharon Halpin, director of financial aid at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, gets a newsletter from a national financial aid organization. The latest one pointed to potential impacts from the shutdown, specifically for students who need their income verified from the IRS in order to get federal student aid.

"'Income verification and transcript services are not exempted activities and therefore subject to disruption'," said Halpin.

If the shutdown continues and interferes with that income verification, Halpin said at least it’s happening during one of the quieter times of the year for her office. She said it would impact only students who are transferring mid-academic year.

"We will have a handful that we’ll work with," Halpin said. "We will notify the Bursar, and let them know what’s going on with this particular student.”

Halpin said it would be a much bigger issue if it stretches into summer, when financial aid packages are being finalized.

She also noted that the issue will be moot in a year. The federal government will allow colleges to accept a family's tax return to verify financial information in the future, instead of requiring verification documentation from the IRS.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.