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Penn State Urges Legislators, Administration To End Government Shutdown

“As we work together to make the impact as least disruptive as possible to our students and employees, we strongly urge Congress and the president to end this impasse,” Penn State Provost Nick Jones said in a release this week.

The federal government shutdown reaches 28 days today. The university is assessing the short-term and long-term effects of the closure and developing contingency plans to minimize its impact.

Nearly half of Penn State’s research funding comes from agencies currently not operating under the shutdown, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Homeland Security. These grants also support graduate students and postdocs at Penn State as well as help cover the salaries of fixed-term faculty and research support staff. Even when the government does reopen, the university says it may take some time for projects funded by stages to return to normalcy.

“We understand how disconcerting this situation can be for those in our community who are reliant on federal agencies for not only funding, but for furthering their research and their work,” Jones said. “For now, Penn State is in a stable position and able to manage the shutdown, but like everyone who is being affected, we know this cannot continue indefinitely without impacts on our university and society.” 

The Office of Government and Community Relations is communicating with the university’s congresspeople about how the shutdown is affecting Penn State. Administrators have also asked the university’s colleges and institutes to develop contingency funding plans to address short-term needs to alleviate the burden on certain populations that may be more vulnerable, like international graduate students.

Penn State must continue to comply with federal requirements regardless of the shutdown, though the Office of Sponsored Programs does not expect to receive any new research funding or approvals from the affected agencies.

Damon Sims, Penn State’s vice president for student affairs, previously sent an email offering the university’s support to all students whose families are impacted by the shutdown. Provost Jones said university leaders will share additional information when Penn State finalizes any plans to prepare for a longer-term shutdown.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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