With no end in sight, the impacts of the government shutdown are affecting more and more aspects of daily life. Federal workers without pay checks and shuttered museums along the National Mall are the front line of the government shutdown, but the consequences of a partially unfunded government reach much farther.
As the shutdown drags on into its third week organizations from after school programs to the world’s leading research universities are feeling the impact of the partial government shutdown as grants go unpaid and funding organizations are unable to accept or process grants.
For example, although the Department of Education is fully funded, many other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which all provide funding directly to educational institutions or pass-through funding to states are affected. Programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been able to continue operations during the first two weeks of the shutdown, however, many are awardees are now concerned that their next anticipated monthly reimbursement will not come. If so, operations will soon cease.
On the other hand, institutions that rely on grant funding to carry out their mission, such as research universities are not only dealing with the immediate impacts of the shutdown but are already seeing much longer term consequences. As Rebecca Hersher explained on All Things Considered this week, researchers working on programs funded by the National Science Foundation might be left without jobs by the end of March since the program offices that evaluate and award grants are also shut down and unable to process or award grants. Add to this the scientists who have already been required to walk away from experiments and it’s easy to see the long-term impacts of this government shutdown.
According to Elizabeth Evans of the Grants Office, LLC the best strategy for grant-seekers during these uncertain times is to continue to prepare for an anticipated grant program if at all possible. “The grants.gov site and the NSF’s Fastlane are still open, which is both good news and bad news for educators and researchers,” she shared. “On the positive side you can keep working on your proposal as planned in order to submit. However, the downside is that if you do have any questions or need clarification, there may not be program officers from the agency around to provide guidance.”