On Monday evening, Con­gress failed to reach an agree­ment on a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, trig­gering the first fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down since 1996. While the most imme­diate impact affects some 800,000 fed­eral employees and con­trac­tors who have been fur­loughed, the ripple effect is reaching aca­d­emic research insti­tu­tions as well.

The good news is that stu­dents should not be impacted by the sit­u­a­tion. In fact, North­eastern offi­cials do not expect the shut­down to have any neg­a­tive impact on the university’s finan­cial aid pro­gram. Pell Grants and funds from the Direct Loan pro­gram will be dis­bursed on schedule, and the majority of the U.S. Depart­ment of Education’s cus­tomer ser­vice con­tact cen­ters will remain open during the shut­down. If the shut­down lasts longer than one week, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will not make new dis­burse­ments of campus-​​based aid programs—including the Work-​​Study and Perkins Loan pro­grams as well as the Sup­ple­mental Edu­ca­tional Oppor­tu­nity Grant—but North­eastern will have the finan­cial flex­i­bility to manage the short­fall for the remainder of the fall semester at the least.

We have the flex­i­bility to use insti­tu­tional resources in the absence of fed­eral cash to manage these pro­grams without impacting stu­dents,” said Anthony Erwin, dean of stu­dent finan­cial services.

While North­eastern stu­dents may not be affected by the shut­down, researchers may feel a min­imal, tem­po­rary impact. How­ever, if the shut­down extends for sev­eral weeks or more, the impact will be greater. Fed­eral research agen­cies ranging from the National Insti­tutes of Health to the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity will not be per­mitted to grant new research awards nor pro­vide admin­is­tra­tive sup­port for grant recip­i­ents. Although draw­down of funds awarded in the 2013 fiscal year is allowed, the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion will not accept new pro­posals. Grants​.gov will accept and store—but not process—submissions.

With regard to uni­ver­sity hiring, while the fed­eral E-​​verify system that con­firms employees’ autho­riza­tion to work in the U.S. isn’t func­tioning due to the shut­down, this will not pre­vent North­eastern from hiring new employees. How­ever, new employees and the uni­ver­sity must still fill out and file the fed­eral I-​​9 form and in some cases, start dates may be delayed.

North­eastern offi­cials encourage fac­ulty and staff to con­firm any meet­ings or events with fed­eral agen­cies or per­sonnel that were sched­uled prior to the shut­down. The uni­ver­sity is mon­i­toring the sit­u­a­tion and its con­tin­gency plan­ning includes working closely with mem­bers of Con­gress as well as fed­eral officials.

We are in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with mem­bers of Con­gress and other fed­eral offi­cials. While the sit­u­a­tion is volatile, we’re opti­mistic that the impact on Northeastern’s teaching and research will be min­imal,” said Michael Armini, senior vice pres­i­dent for external affairs.