Head Start to Higher Ed Feel Pressure from Shut Down

3 years 10 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, October 01 2013 Oct 1, 2013 Tuesday, October 01, 2013 5:47:00 PM CDT October 01, 2013 in News
By: Christine Roto, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - From the early childhood care to higher education, the government shut down has wide spread potential effects.

For now, the federal Head Start program is safe in central Missouri and is not yet facing a budget crisis. But 23 Head Start programs in 11 states set to begin on Oct. 1 were unable to because of lack of funding.

"I feared for my job hearing about the shut down, but I have good communication with everyone in charge and they would have told me if there was anything to worry about," Candra McArthur, an instructor at the Worley Street Head Start said.

The director at the Central Missouri Community Action said the program could run into problems if the shut down lasts for more than a month. The program recieves $5.5 millions dollars each year for the program to fund the 406 kids in the central Missouri area that use it.

Parents can drop their kids off at centers that offer the Head Start program, like the facility on Worley St. At no cost, the instructors take care of the children until their parents pick them up.

Higher education in Columbia is impacted in a big way as well. At the Columbia College, 25 percent of the 30,000 plus students across all Columbia College campuses are servicemen and women. From the government shut down, they may have to find a new way to rely on financial assistance. The college will offer new avenues for the students to secure their financial obligations.

"We've instituted a new program, one similar to the one we used in March with the sequestration," Mike Lederle, the assistant dean of military programs at the college said. "We are offering a differed payment plan to new and current students if they want to utilize that, to help them continue their education."

The plan is offered to students who are eligible for military tuition assistance, and students who have or apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. If students reach those requirements, the student can withdraw from a class through Nov. 29 without financial or academic liability. The student is also able to enroll in a six-month payment plan.

Lederle said the college advises the students to look for options such as federal grants rather then federal loans.

"Of the military personnel who applied for the Federal Pell Grant following sequestration in March 2013, 73 percent were eligible," Lederle said.

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