CSU and the Federal Government Shutdown, October 1, 2013
The shutdown of the federal government has generated many questions about what this means for our campus and operations. Like the rest of the country, we’ve been aware for some time now that a shutdown was a possibility, and so we’ve been preparing to manage impacts on our people and operations. And like the rest of the country, we hope this is a short-term situation and that any challenges it creates here at Colorado State will be minimal. Still, we do know there will be impacts at least in the short term and are confident that we can work through those calmly and collaboratively.
Here is what we know at this point:
- We do not expect any impacts on student financial aid, and all of our financial aid systems are up and running as usual. Students who are in the middle of applying for aid and need IRS information to complete their applications will be delayed, however. In those cases, please contact CSU’s Student Financial Services at (970) 491-6321 for assistance.
- Student veterans and active-duty military with questions or concerns about their VA stipends or benefits should contact the Office of the Registrar at (970) 491-6340. They will guide you in working with Student Financial Services to manage any payment delays resulting from the shutdown.
- While most of our workforce is not affected by the shutdown, some of our employees on federal grants, contracts, and work-study may be affected by furloughs and the lockdown of federal facilities. The potential impacts will vary based on the type of federal funding, obligation status, “essential” status, location and relationship to a federal work site, and decisions by individual agencies. The impacts will also change and develop depending on the length of the shutdown. The Vice President for Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs are working directly with the research associate deans and Colleges to manage impacts to specific programs funded through various federal entities. Our understanding at this hour is that employees should continue performance under their federal awards during the shutdown, to the extent funds are available, the term of the grant or cooperative agreement has not expired, and the University has not been issued a stop-work notification.
- Employees who are partially or fully funded through federal grants or contracts or who otherwise work on or with federal agencies or facilities should assume that work will continue during the shut-down unless notified otherwise. Accordingly, please report to work as usual. In some instances, the federal government may choose to issue a stop-work notice, which could impact your work status during the shutdown. Notifications changing your work status or schedule should come from a CSU supervisor. Employees receiving direct communication from a federal agency or facility should forward that notice to Sponsored Programs and their applicable research associate dean for further guidance.
- Departments should coordinate with Human Resources on a case by case basis if they have any employees who need to be put on a leave without pay status. Employees who are furloughed and need assistance managing through that process can call (970) 491-MyHR (6947) for support.
- CSU may continue to perform under Cooperative Agreements and contracts for work where sufficient funds were obligated prior to the federal shutdown. CSU may receive specific guidance or orders from sponsors. Please refer any such correspondence to Sponsored Programs for evaluation prior to continuing work on the project.
- We have received notice from the Council on Government Relations related to NSF and NIH research grants — for the most part, work may continue on all active awards to the extent that funds are available and federal staff intervention isn’t required. NSF will not be making payments during the shutdown but the NIH will be. Please consult your research associate dean or Sponsored Programs for any additional impacts related to project reporting, cost extensions, award transfer requests, supplemental funding requests, proposal preparation and submission, and issuance of new grants and cooperative agreements.
- Employees experiencing personal stress and hardship related to the shutdown should contact the Employee Assistance Program. Students needing such support are advised to contact the CSU Health Network and its counseling services. Support is available if you need it.
Obviously, there is a great deal of uncertainty right now, and we are watching the government’s actions very closely and working to respond as best we can. If you have specific questions or concerns that you want to ensure are considered, please let us know via email@example.com. In the meantime, we believe our best approach is simply to stay calm, respond as we can, and wait and see how this unfolds over the next few days.
Dr. Tony Frank