What Happens to Schools in Case of a Shutdown?

With less than 36 hours to go until the federal government shuts down, federal agencies are preparing their contingency plans in case Congress can’t reach a funding agreement.

In case of a shutdown, the federal Education Department would furlough over nine in 10 of its employees in the first week of the shutdown. For a shutdown lasting longer than a week, no more than six percent of employees may be phased back into work.

In spite of that, much of the department’s most important functions would continue as if business were usual, at least from the public’s viewpoint. Student financial aid payments would go uninterrupted, including Pell Grants and student loans. Most of the federal portion of funding for K-12 education would continue to flow. Several grant programs already have funding through the end of the calendar year, but could not operate beyond then.