StateImpact Florida
6:20 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Shutdown Roundup: How The Budget Drama Could Impact Students And Schools In Florida

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:01 pm

Schools and students in Florida are in trouble if the money runs out.

Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net

Schools and students in Florida are in trouble if the money runs out.

Going into the weekend, there are a few signs of movement on the federal shutdown drama–which seems like a good time to check in on what the shutdown could mean for education in Florida if it isn’t resolved soon.

We’ve rounded up a few stories that explain who could feel the pinch and why:

PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Governor Rick Scott has ordered state agencies not to use state funds to cover things that would otherwise be paid for with federal dollars. CBS 4 in Miami reports that medium-sized school districts and special services are vulnerable:

A legislative review prepared last week for Florida Senate leaders contends that small to medium-sized school districts could have problems meeting payroll after Oct. 14 because of their reliance on federal education aid. The Department of Education disputed that report and said districts received their federal funding back in July and have enough money to make it to the end of the school year.

But a DOE spokeswoman did not dispute that other federally funded programs such as vocational rehabilitation and blind services will probably have to stop making payments to vendors and providers next week.

COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH LOANS

Florida made a top ten list of states that would be affected by a shutdown of the FAFSA process for college students applying for federal aid. WalletHub analyzed which states have been hit hardest by the federal shutdown and crunched the numbers in a few different categories:

From senior citizens who can’t obtain the Social Security money they depend on for survival to students who are unable to secure the loans they need to pursue higher education, the unintended consequences of these nonsensical political games will continue to mount until we hit a breaking point.

COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH FAMILIES

Speaking of higher education, Slate.com has this look at how college students with families rely on federally-funded safety net programs—like housing subsidies and food stamps—that will be held up as a result of the shutdown:

The economic reality for all single parents struggling to get through college is tough: low wages, economic precarity, and a greater risk of dropping out. The No. 1 concern for these parents is child care. When only half of all colleges provide any kind of child care services, student-parents are vulnerable to disruptions to programs like Head Start. … But even those college students who find a way to meet their child care needs during the shutdown may face an even bigger concern: going hungry. As of Tuesday, the government had stopped funding the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children; J’Kai Jackson told NBC News that without support from WIC, she would “have to drop out of school to find work to provide food for my child.”

VETERANS

And college benefits for veterans are at risk, too. As Military.com reports, this is only the latest federal budget squabble to cause trouble for tuition assistance programs:

Every military branch has stopped processing tuition assistance applications until either a continuing resolution — a stopgap spending measure — or budget to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2014 is passed. … In March, the Army, Air Force and Marines abruptly halted tuition assistance because of sequestration budget cuts, but the assistance was reinstated by Congress in an appropriations bill, amid an outcry from service members, veterans groups and military advocates.

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