2018-2019 Government Shutdown - Frequently Asked Questions & Guidelines

A government shut down, even a partial one, can have significant negative impact students and on advanced research projects at US research universities. Below are some frequently asked questions about the partial shutdown, and how it is affecting OSU.

Congress has already approved funding for several federal agencies that support university research including the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education (DoED), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).  These agencies will continue to operate as usual.

Congress has yet to pass funding for several agencies that are important to OSU, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Commerce (including NIST, NOAA, and EDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the State Department (including USAID). 

1. What is the impact on federal financial aid?

The partial shutdown will not affect federal financial aid programs supported by the Department of Education as Congress approved FY2019 appropriations for these programs. However, student financial aid applications for the upcoming year may be impacted. Please reach out to the Office of Student Financial Aid at 541-737-2241.

2. What is the impact on veterans’ education benefits and services?

The partial shutdown will not affect veterans' education benefits and services as Congress approved FY2019 appropriations for these programs.

3. What is the impact on immigration services?

Because these activities are funded by fees, most of these services are expected to remain operational during a shutdown. For additional information, view the Department of Homeland Security shutdown plan or contact OSU’s Office of International Affairs (541-737-3006).

4. What is the impact on international students at OSU?

If you have questions or concerns about how the shutdown, please contact OSU’s Office of International Services (541-737-3006).

Meanwhile, we understand many federal agencies that engage in international travel and student matters are not affected by the shutdown. They include:

  • U.S Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS): The agency is a fee funded organization and is not impacted by the shutdown. Other support programs, such as E-verify, that receive appropriated funds may be suspended or impacted. If impacted, delays within E-verify may delay applicants for employment benefits.
  • Department of State (DOS) – Visa and passport operations are fee funded and should not be impacted by the shutdown. If impacted, consular offices will prioritize diplomatic visas and emergency applications
  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) – The agency is not impacted as inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered essential personnel.
  • Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – ICE enforcement operations will not be impacted.
  • Department of Labor (DOL) – DOL will not be impacted as the agency in September received appropriations approval through September 2019. The web-based systems for labor certification ICERT and PERM, which are critical for H1-B and Permanent Resident applications, are not affected.

 

5. What is the impact on federally funded research projects?  

No new grants or contracts are usually awarded during a shutdown, but Oregon State University’s Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) has found that all federal websites are open for proposal submission. Researchers likely can submit proposals, but error checking is not available, and submitted proposals only will be reviewed by agencies that are operating as usual. Other agencies’ proposals, such as USDA and NSF, will not be reviewed until the government is operational again. A shutdown also can have negative impact on our research partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies.

Work may continue on most federally funded projects that have been awarded. Routine administrative and support services provided by federal agencies to grant and contract recipients likely will not be available. Awarded projects may be disrupted during a shutdown if they are housed in a federal facility, such as the NOAA building in Newport. Projects also may be disrupted if the project includes federal personnel, and/or if an award includes restrictive terms and conditions that require administrative action to approve a drawdown of funds.

Federal agency staff likely will not be available to approve no-cost extension requests, grant transfers, re-budgeting approvals or other actions requiring agency approval. OSRAA, however, is processing all such requests. OSRAA has fielded the most questions about no-cost extensions.  If OSU is allowed to approve a one-time extension to the period of performance, it will be processed as usual. If OSU must seek agency approval, OSRAA will still process it and send the request on  to the funding agency. OSU is not shutting down projects because of pending no-cost extension requests, but rather treating them as is they have been approved at this time. 

 

6. What about proposal submissions?

The websites of Grants.Gov, NSPIRES, Research.Gov/Fastlane, NIH Commons and ezFedGrants are accepting proposals during the shutdown; this means that it is likely that proposal deadlines will not be extended for agencies using these systems for proposal submissions. Please proceed with your proposal submissions in a normal fashion. Agency help desks are likely not operational if the agency is shut down. If you have questions, please contact OSRAA (541-737-4933.) 

OSRAA is able to approve new users through Research.gov.

7. Are awards still being processed?

Since NSF and USDA are OSU’s largest funding agencies, OSRAA’s receipt of both new and incrementally funded awards has slowed down. Requests for pending indices should be carefully considered if it is a new award from one of the impacted agencies. If your award is expecting incremental funding, it is probably safe to assume the funding will arrive late from any impacted agencies. Feel free to contact OSRAA, if you have concerns. 

 

8. How should I handle reporting requirements? 

 

If possible, researchers should submit their technical reports as their award stipulates. OSRAA has learned that NOAA Grants Online has been disabled, so those reports cannot be submitted.  The websites Research.gov and ezFedGrants are available for technical report submission, as is the NIH Commons website.

 

OSRAA is continuing to submit financial reports and invoices as an award stipulates. We will be using the “Remarks” section on the reports to note submission during the shutdown.

 

9. What if my project is funded by a subaward OSU has received?  Is there anything I should do differently?

 

If OSRAA receives any guidance from the sponsoring entity, it will be shared with the researcher(s) and respective OSU Business Center(s) right away. If the researcher(s) receives any information, please forward it to OSRAA. 

 

10. Has OSU received any “stop work” orders?

 

At present, OSRAA has only received one stop-work order. If OSRAA receives any guidance from the sponsoring entity, it will be shared with the researcher(s) and the respective Business Center(s) right away.  If the researcher(s) receives any information, please forward it to OSRAA. 

 

Federal Shutdown Guidance from Federal Agencies Subject to the Partial Shutdown:

Federal Agency Contingency Plans across the Federal Government.

OMB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 2018.

Agriculture (USDA, including ARS, Forest Service, NIFA)

Department of Agriculture Shutdown Plan (December 2017) 
System Status: ezFed Grants Available During Shutdown but Unsupported (December 21, 2018) 
US Forest Service Furlough Notification (December 26, 2018)

Commerce (including NIST, NOAA, etc.)

Department of Commerce Shutdown Plan (December 17, 2018) 

Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security Shutdown Plan (December 17, 2018) 

Environmental Protection Agency

Guidance for Assistance Agreement Recipients and Fellows (December 31, 2018)
Environmental Protection Agency Shutdown Plan (December 17, 2018) 

Interior

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Shutdown Not Applicable to Certain Named Awards (December 21, 2018) 
Department of Interior Shutdown Plan (December 07, 2017)

Justice

Office of Justice Programs Guidance (Updated on January 4, 2019
Department of Justice Shutdown Plan (January 19, 2018) 

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Shutdown Plan (December 18, 2018)
NASA Guidance during Shutdown  (December 26, 2018) 

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts Shutdown Plan (September 26, 2018) 

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities Shutdown Plan (September 25, 2018) 

National Science Foundation

Information About the Government Shutdown for NSF Proposers and Grantees (December 24, 2018)
Guidance for certain named NSF Cooperative Agreements (December 21, 2018) 
National Science Foundation Shutdown Plan (November 16, 2018)

State (including USAID)

Department of State Shutdown Plan (December 06, 2018) 
United States Agency for International Development Shutdown Plan (December 20, 2018) 

Transportation

Department of Transportation Shutdown Plan (December 18, 2018) 

Treasury

Department of Treasury Shutdown Plan (December 08, 2017)