Opinion: Congress should resolve problems, keep education safe

Opinion: Congress should resolve problems, keep education safe

Cory Spiers

Despite the fact that the government shutdown ended Oct. 16, Appalachian State University might still be facing funding issues in the coming months, Charna Howson, director of sponsored programs, told The Appalachian.

Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 and ended the shutdown. This legislation allows the government to continue borrowing money through Feb. 7, 2014 and will keep the government running through Jan. 15, giving Congress time to figure out the budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

What is a concern is how this will affect the university. Howson told The Appalachian that the university was still “not out of the woods.”

Amy Roberts, manager of special funds accounting, told The Appalachian that the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs receives $5 million from the federal government that is put to use, mainly within the College of Arts and Sciences, for many purposes including research, internships and grant-funded jobs.

If the government continues to spend money it does not have, vital areas of funding may be cut in the future in order to reduce the deficit. This leads me to wonder if education will be one of these areas.

I certainly hope that is not the case.

According to CNN, education cuts that took place in the spring of 2013 cost thousands of students grant money and work-study programs.

It would be a major disappointment to see education take further hits in order to accommodate the government’s inability to solve its problems.

Many university employees paid from federal grants were paid with university funds during the shutdown, and others took vacation time, Howson told The Appalachian.

It comes as some relief that the shutdown took place when it did.

Had it happened at a different time this semester, financial aid would have been compromised and Appalachian would have suffered much greater losses.

Education is certainly not an area that should suffer from the imposing government deficit. Education is incredibly important, and one of the ways the government invests in this country.

Something must be done about government spending, but perhaps Congress should look elsewhere for a solution to this problem before higher education suffers.

Opinion: ERICA BADENCHINI, Opinion writer