Government shutdown slowing down financial aid process for some students at Fresno State

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The government shutdown is slowing down the process of applying and awarding financial aid for some students at Fresno State.

Most have already completed their financial aid applications for the 2018-2019 school year.

"There are a few who still need to submit some IRS tax documents, but we are now allowed to take their tax returns instead of their tax documents," said Kelly Russell, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Fresno State.

She said the Department of Education released new guidelines for colleges and universities allowing alternative documents from students.

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Russell pointed out if the government shutdown continues in the weeks or months to come there are big concerns for new students in the fall.

"That's mainly because of the application goes through date base matches and right now with the government shutdown those database matches are not happening," said Russell.

Some of those databases are with the Social Security Administration and Selective Service Verification.

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Russell said there are ways to work around that and the university works with students concerned about missing payments for the new semester.

"If a student is still waiting on their financial aid to be processed, we issue what we call a fee deferment that allows tuition to be delayed in payment until their financial aid has been processed," she said.

Classes for the spring semester begin on Thursday but some students on campus Tuesday morning dropped by the financial aid office to check on their application process.

"I'm a little bit nervous about that and for the future depending on how long the government shutdown last. I'm even thinking about next year, next semester and over the summer," said John Fairbanks, student.

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