Student aid troubled by state shutdown

Megan Nicolai

As the state government shutdown enters its second week, many state-funded grants and scholarships for financing graduate and undergraduate educations have been put out of reach for Minnesotan students.

State grants and scholarships like State Work study programs, the Minnesota Indian scholarship, Child Care grants and the Minnesota GI bill have all been suspended.

Though much of the stateâÄôs services have been shuttered, the Office of Higher Education is open, but with limited services and staff through the duration of the shutdown.

The Student Educational Loan Fund program has stayed open, however, after Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled the service critical during a state government shutdown. SELF loans are low-interest loans for Minnesota students who have exhausted their federal aid options for higher education.

“Its not a question of if, but when students are paid,” said Kris Wright, director of the University of Minnesota’s Office of Student Finance.

Students who managed to complete a SELF loan application before June 30 are likely to continue to receive money from the state, but those who did not file applications before the shutdown began will likely have to wait until MinnesotaâÄôs government re-opens, according to a press release.

The Office of Higher Education expects a large backlog of applications, so those students may face an even longer wait.

“We know this is a big concern for students, but they should not worry,” Wright said. “We want to make sure that students are reassured.”