January 17, 2019

CSCU suspends tuition payments for federal workers during gov. shutdown

HBJ PHOTO | John Stearns
HBJ PHOTO | John Stearns
Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

Connecticut's public college and university system has granted a temporary tuition reprieve for students impacted by the federal government's ongoing partial shutdown.

In a letter to campus leaders Wednesday, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian directed the system's 17 schools to temporarily suspend tuition bills for affected students, which he said include federal workers and their dependents, until the government shutdown is lifted. Entering day 27 on Thursday, the ongoing shutdown is the longest in the nation's history.

It's not clear exactly how many CSCU students are impacted.

"While the effects of the shutdown -- at least on the CSCU system -- have so far been limited, if a solution isn't reached in short order, there is potential for real harm in a number of ways," Ojakian said.

The partial shutdown started affecting certain government agencies on Dec. 22 after Congressional Democrats refused President Donald J. Trump's demands for billions of dollars to fund a border wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Certain federal workers, and their family members, who are not receiving paychecks may experience financial hardships because of missed paychecks, Ojakian said. The closure of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could also make it more difficult for students to file for financial aid, especially those enrolled at community colleges, he said.

Ojakian urged colleges and universities to also work with students to address the costs of transportation, books or other social services.

Qualifying students must sign a document confirming they are financially impacted by the government shutdown and will continue making payments after its conclusion.

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