FAFSA

UNITED STATES - It's day 18 of the partial government shutdown.

The trump administration says benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be funded through February, should the government shutdown continue.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is asking states to issue the February benefits on or before January 20th so they can be paid on time.

SNAP is already fully funded for January.

The department says other USDA programs are also funded through next month. That includes school lunches, food distribution programs on Indian Reservations and child nutrition programs like WIC.

These are just some of the impacts the shutdown is creating, but more are being noticed.

The shutdown is now impacting college students who rely on financial aid from FAFSA.

"Because the shutdown includes the IRS, the students that are selected for verification by the Department of Education those students can't produce the documents that we need in order to establish their eligibility," said Oscar Verduzco, Financial Aid Director, Yakima Valley College (YVC).

With students eligibility in question they can not receive any sort FAFSA money that means federal grant money and student loan money.

Verduzco explains how this is impacting students at YVC.

"What this translates for our students is we can't confirm what programs they qualify for or the amount until they can produce those documents. So these students have outstanding tuition fee balances," said Verduzco.

Verduzco says about two thirds of students at YVC are financial aid applicants.

He also says the college is helping students so they can continue their education.

"We're extending their tuition due date so that they can maintain their courses that they are registered for, for this quarter," said Verduzco.

The winter quarter at YVC ends in late March and if the partial shutdown continues it will also impact students during their spring quarter because in order to enroll in spring classes they must pay their outstanding balance.

YVC is offering FAFSA/WASFA workshops for all community members on January 16th, February 13 and March 6.

The sessions will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the YVC Yakima campus in the Deccio Higher Education Center, building 8, Room 210.

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