The spring semester is quickly approaching, and for some students, there’s more to stress over than move-in day, reading assignments and weighty tests. With the government shutdown still looming, some incoming students are unable to complete critical steps to receive financial aid.
All over the country, new and transfer students applying for federal aid for the spring semester are unable to access their tax returns transcripts because the Internal Revenue Service website has been down since the end of 2018, the start of the now-longest shutdown in U.S. history. Without the ability to obtain documents from the IRS, students cannot apply for financial aid, which means countless students who were accepted into colleges and are eager to start or continue their higher education won’t be able to.
Such was the case for Michelle Moraa, a freshman at the University of Maryland. After making several unsuccessful requests for her tax transcript to the IRS, Moraa, fearing she might be forced to miss the semester or take it at a local community college, decided to start a GoFundMe page titled “Please Help My Siblings and I Stay in College,” where she highlights her accomplishments as a student and current funding dilemma. Her story caught the attention of a local ABC station. After her university saw the news coverage, they contacted Moraa and offered her a solution to her problem.
“The university stated that they would accept my mom’s tax forms in place of my tax transcript,” Moraa told Teen Vogue, adding that she will need to turn in the tax transcript once the IRS is back in operation.
Under the government shutdown, now nearing a month, several essential federal entities have closed. The ongoing feud between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats surrounding funding for his proposed border wall that lies behind the shutdown has assured Moraa, a government and politics major, of the importance of her education.
The student, upset that political disagreements are interfering in the lives of numerous Americans, hopes to see an end to the shutdown soon.
“All of this could have been avoided,” she said, “or, it can be avoided, if the shutdown just ends.”