Aid provided to those affected by shutdown

Victoria BresnahanNews Editor

Last Friday, President Donald Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government after the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Students, staff and faculty of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities that were affected by the 35-day shutdown were given the option to defer on tuition payments until its reopening, per a statement released by CSCU President Mark Ojakian.

“As colleges and universities, we should do everything in our power to make sure we are not adding undue stress at an already difficult time. That’s why I am requesting that tuition payments for impacted students be temporarily suspended until the conclusion of the shutdown,” wrote Ojakian in a letter to campus chief executives.

In addition, administrators at the universities were instructed to help students manage the cost of textbooks, transportation and other needs.

Those impacted by the shutdown could file deferment paperwork to pause any tuition payments they had to make, according to the Bursar Nina Cote. The paperwork garners information concerning how the person was affected, and Cote said, and was “simple” in nature to file

. Those who entered the deferment period had a memo placed on their account so their due balance did not appear.

“Once the government reopens, they’ll have 45 days after that,” Cote said. “So, they have an extended period after the shutdown.”

As of last Wednesday, Cote had deferred three students, and was waiting on an additional three to complete their paperwork. Both federal employees and parents or caregivers of a student have sought the deferment, she said.

The university sought to help all federal employees, and others affected by the shutdown, said University Controller Loren Loomis Hubbell.

“We set it up to reach out to everyone who truly, meaningful effected by the shutdown,” she said. While the deferral process is a loss in university cash due to the lack of it, Loomis Hubbell said, it is ‘manageable.’

According to Bertolino, before Ojakian’s statement was released, the university was all ready prepared to help students impacted by the shutdown.

“We weren’t going to penalize students for that,” he said, “because that’s certainly not fair. It creates some administrative backlog, but nothing we can’t sort through.”

Prior to the reopening of the government last Friday, he said the university was prepared to provide further resources of any capacity.

“We are going to do what is right,” said Bertolino. “If someone wants to give me grief for it, fine. But, we are going to do what is right.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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