Department of Education works with Financial Aid office to get students through a temporary government shutdown

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Department of Education works with Financial Aid office to get students through a temporary government shutdown

The Financial Aid staff are working hard to help students get through the obstacles that have risen due to the government shutdown. Photo credit: Luis Miron

The Financial Aid staff are working hard to help students get through the obstacles that have risen due to the government shutdown. Photo credit: Luis Miron

The Financial Aid staff are working hard to help students get through the obstacles that have risen due to the government shutdown. Photo credit: Luis Miron

The Financial Aid staff are working hard to help students get through the obstacles that have risen due to the government shutdown. Photo credit: Luis Miron

By Luis Miron

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Moorpark College students dependent on financial aid are hitting roadblocks this semester, due to the government shutdown that began on December 20, 2018.

“I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t get my documents from the IRS. The following day I did some research and found out that is was because of the government shutdown,” said Maria Gutierrez, a 21-year-old Psychology student attending the spring semester.

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Guadalupe Rodriguez, left, a business administration student and Maria Gutierrez, a phycology student, patiently await their turn to see a staff member from the financial aid office to help them with their aid for the spring semester. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Several students, like Gutierrez, are affected by the government shutdown due to IRS offices being closed and their website displaying an ‘under maintenance’ message when attempting to obtain certain forms. The IRS plays a key role in students accessing their tax return forms from previous years in order to apply or renew their financial aid.

According to Kim Korinke, a financial aid officer at Moorpark College, the staff and Korinke, with the guidance of the Department of Education, were able to find a solution for students.

Normally students are required to bring an official IRS transcript to begin their application process but due to current circumstances, the Department of Education has decided to accept students’ signed tax return copies from previous years to get students the money they need for the academic year.

“Students that can’t get their tax transcript from the IRS can turn in their tax return copy that were filed during the 2016 or 2017 tax periods,” said Korinke.

The Financial Aid office is going through two application periods, with two types of students being affected by the shutdown. Students trying to get their money for spring 2019, which requires their 2016 tax forms and those that are planning ahead to the fall semester want to start the application process, which will require them to provide their 2017 tax forms.

Students who had submitted their IRS tax transcripts before the government shutdown should not be affected and will receive their aid as scheduled. The students being affected by the government shutdown will receive their aid when they get a copy of their tax form from the required tax year to the Financial Aid office and finish processing their application.

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Moorpark students wait their turn to check into the Financial Aid Office. Students are able to drop by without an appointment, though they are highly recommended due to the high volume of students. Photo credit: Luis Miron

“We are not having any problems drawing funds from the federal government, we have been dispersing to students since last week,” said Korinke. “Our first disbursement was last Tuesday the 8th.”

The Financial Aid office highly encourages students to get all their documents sorted and to the office as soon as possible so the staff can distribute aid to them. Korinke added that the Financial Aid office will start working on a mass email to notify students that are not aware of the problems arising from the government shutdown. A school-wide email is expected to be sent out during the second week of the semester.

Even though the Financial Aid office welcomes walk-ins during their office hours they recommend students make an appointment, due to the high volume of students seeking help during this time. For office hours and information about financial aid service visit their website or call 805-378-1462.

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