Student veterans unscathed by gov shutdown

Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ reserves could last about a month



Members of the Student Veterans Committe meet for their annual meeting and discuss their upcoming budget located in the Veterans center of the Holland Library, Monday evening. The Student Veterans Committee meet for their annual meeting to dicuss how they can support student veterans and changes to their budget, located in the veterans center in the Holland Library, Monday evening.

ZARA CRUDEN, Evergreen reporter

President Donald Trump signed a spending bill Monday to stop a three-day long government shutdown, which was soon enough to save student veterans from temporarily losing educational benefits. But longer shutdowns could have greater effects.

“I got a message from the [Department of Veterans Affairs] this morning, which said they were going to continue processing education benefits as normal for the foreseeable future,” Blaine Golden, veterans coordinator at WSU’s Veterans Affairs Office, said. “They said that they had reserves they were able to spend, so they would continue to pay benefits until those reserves were completed, and they had estimated that that would be a four week situation.”

He wasn’t sure what the current state of reserves were for paying service members’ tuition, but estimated that there would still be a month’s worth of funding before federal aid was critically needed.

It was not Golden’s first government shutdown. He said he received a similar message during the shutdown of 2013.

A government shutdown is not always a grinding halt or a dramatic emptying of federal buildings, but rather a quiet furloughing of employees and programs deemed unnecessary. Some staff who process veterans’ educational benefits would be sent home. These furloughs could impact how students get funds from their GI Bill, which helps military members and their dependents pay for college.

While a longer shutdown could have had greater consequences, Golden said, WSU’s student veterans center, located in Holland Library, did not feel the impact.

“The center itself gets its funding through donors,” he said, “so I wasn’t affected by the shutdown directly, same as all the other staff and faculty on campus.”

With the federal government’s sprawling reach, a shutdown can impact people in unexpected ways, Golden said.

“I don’t think people realize just how much the federal government can be involved in their lives,” he said.